COLOMBIA: Border Tensions: A Prayer Request

6 March 2008
COLOMBIA: Border Tensions: A Prayer Request

CPT Colombia has received inquiries from supporters in North America about the tensions between Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador that have resulted from the Colombian military incursion this week into Ecuadorian territory. Barrancabermeja is a long ways from all of Colombia's borders, so there is no immediate danger related to these tensions to CPTers or to our partners here.

On February 27, through negotiations with the government of Venezuela, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) released four more of the approximately 700 hostages they have kidnapped and held for years. Colombian President Alvaro Uribe did not want to accept the participation of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in this role, but in the end reluctantly authorized it.

On March 1 the Colombian governmental forces crossed into Ecuador and, through aerial bombing and on-ground military raid, killed a key FARC leader, 'Raúl Reyes', as well as twenty others identified in the press as FARC members. Some reports suggest this attack on a FARC base inside of Ecuador was aided by U.S. intelligence. According to Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, at the time of his death Reyes was in advanced stages of negotiations with the Ecuadorian government regarding a further release of hostages at the time.

Ecuador and Venezuela have withdrawn their ambassadors from Colombia. They have both moved troops and tanks to their borders with Colombia.

We are sobered by this renewed movement on the part of the Colombian government to deal with the national conflict in a military framework rather than building on civil and diplomatic attempts. We are concerned at the saber-rattling by neighbors in the region.

We ask that you join us in prayer for peaceful and just relations between Colombia and its neighbors, for a negotiated end to the war in Colombia, for freedom for all hostages and an end to all human rights abuses, and for a concerted effort to address the socio-economic roots of the conflict.

Events in this situation are changing daily. The team recommends the blog of Adam Isaacson at the Center for International Policy for ongoing concise analysis of events in Colombia and links to recommended news sources.