Navigation
Suscribe
Menu Search Facebook Twitter
Search Close
Menu ALL SECTIONS
  • Capital Coahuila
  • Capital Hidalgo
  • Capital Jalisco
  • Capital Morelos
  • Capital Oaxaca
  • Capital Puebla
  • Capital Quintana Roo
  • Capital Querétaro
  • Capital Veracruz
  • Capital México
  • Capital Michoacán
  • Capital Mujer
  • Reporte Índigo
  • Estadio Deportes
  • The News
  • Efekto
  • Diario DF
  • Capital Edo. de Méx.
  • Green TV
  • Revista Cambio
Radio Capital
Pirata FM
Capital Máxima
Capital FM
Digital
Prensa
Radio
TV
X
Newsletter
Facebook Twitter
X Welcome! Subscribe to our newsletter and receive news, data, statistical and exclusive promotions for subscribers
World

Colombia Blames Rebels for Disappearance of Journalists

Unlike the FARC, which has demonstrated repeatedly its interest in leaving behind the battlefield, the more ideologically radical ELN has been more defiant

Demonstrators hold signs demanding the release of three journalists who are believed to have been taken hostage, photo: AP/Fernando Vergara
2 years ago

BOGOTÁ, Colombia — Colombia’s government on Thursday blamed the country’s second-largest rebel group for the disappearance of three journalists in a lawless border region.

Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas said intelligence reports “confirm with certainty” that the National Liberation Army, or ELN, was responsible for the journalists going missing.

This undated photo shows journalists Diego D'Pablos (R) and Carlos Melo, after taking off from Cucuta, Colombia. D'Pablos, Melo and Spanish journalist Salud Hernandez-Mora, a correspondent in Colombia for Spain's El Mundo and columnist for the Bogota daily El Tiempo, were reported missing in northeastern Colombia's border with Venezuela. Photo: AP/Efrain Patino

This undated photo shows journalists Diego D’Pablos (R) and Carlos Melo, after taking off from Cucuta, Colombia. D’Pablos, Melo and Spanish journalist Salud Hernández-Mora, a correspondent in Colombia for Spain’s El Mundo and columnist for the Bogotá daily El Tiempo, were reported missing in northeastern Colombia’s border with Venezuela. Photo: AP/Efrain Patino

He said a more than prudent amount of time had passed since they were last heard from and he insisted it was up to the guerrillas to assure their safe return.

“From this point on the responsibility for the safety and freedom of these three citizens is exclusively in their hands,” Villegas said.

The ELN, whose army of 1,500 guerrillas is fragmented, has not commented on the situation.

Salud Hernandez-Mora, a correspondent for the Spanish newspaper El Mundo and one of Colombia’s most-read columnists, disappeared over the weekend while on assignment in the volatile Catatumbo region on the border with Venezuela. She was last seen arguing with an unidentified man and then taking a motorcycle to an unknown destination. Two journalists from the RCN network went missing Monday later while covering the search for the Spanish journalist.

On Wednesday, President Juan Manuel Santos held out the possibility that Henández-Mora might have chosen to report from inside of a rebel camp and simply hadn’t returned.

But Villegas’ comments were likely to ratchet up concern that the three journalists were being held against their will and put pressure on Santos to break off a peace process with the Cuban revolution-inspired ELN. After holding out for years, the ELN announced in March that it was joining the much larger Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia in formal talks with the government aimed at ending the country’s half-century conflict.

But unlike the FARC, which has demonstrated repeatedly its interest in leaving behind the battlefield, the more ideologically radical ELN has been more defiant, even snubbing Santos’ insistence that it renounce kidnapping and return all captives in order for the talks to officially begin.

This undated photo, courtesy of El Tiempo newspaper, shows Salud Hernandez-Mora, correspondent in Colombia for Spain's El Mundo and columnist for the Bogota daily El Tiempo, working in an unknown location in Colombia. Photo: El Tiempo via AP

This undated photo, courtesy of El Tiempo newspaper, shows Salud Hernández-Mora, correspondent in Colombia for Spain’s El Mundo and columnist for the Bogotá daily El Tiempo, working in an unknown location in Colombia. Photo: El Tiempo via AP

“With every hour that passes the political value of these kidnappings increases because the ELN mistakenly believes they can force the government on its knees and impose negotiating conditions with a captive of such stature,” said Alejandro Reyes, a columnist for the newspaper El Espectador.

“My biggest fear is that the saga of Ingrid Betancourt could be repeated,” Reyes added, referring to the former presidential candidate who was held hostage six years by the FARC until her rescue in 2008.

Santos’ government later issued a statement calling for the journalists’ immediate release.

“In a country that today is moving toward a stable and enduring peace, it’s unacceptable that these attacks against society continue to take place,” Frank Pearl, the chief negotiator for the peace process with the ELN, said in the statement.

An extensive search led by the army has produced few leads on the missing journalists. The government requested the involvement of the International Committee of the Red Cross but the humanitarian group said it had not been contacted by the rebels or any other group.

The Jamaica-sized Catatumbo region of northeastern Colombia is among the country’s poorest, most marginalized backwaters. It is a major coca-growing area and corridor for cocaine smuggling to Venezuela, with the state able to maintain only a few militarized strongholds.

In addition to the ELN, remnants of the Popular Liberation Army are still active in the area as is the FARC.

JOSHUA GOODMAN

 

Comments Whatsapp Twitter Facebook Share
More From The News
Entertainment

Surrounded by scandal, Globes turn to ol ...

2 days ago
Latest News

Hyperactive Missouri Gov. Greitens touts ...

2 days ago
Business

Bitcoin futures soar amid frenzy over vi ...

2 days ago
Science

France names winners of anti-Trump clima ...

2 days ago
Most Popular

Mexico's Industries seek U.S. Partner Co ...

By Rosalba Amezcua
Business

Odebrecht hands pipeline management to p ...

By Reuters
Business

Stocks Slump, Pound Slides, U.S. 10-Year ...

By The Associated Press
Business

Spanish Minister: No EU Budget Fines for ...

By The Associated Press
Business

Cetram Chapultepec Project Creates Confl ...

By Simon Schatzberg
Business