Co-Production: Pacha Films & Al Jazeera English
Over 4,000 hostages are believed to be in the hands of various guerrilla groups in the jungles of Colombia. FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, is thought to hold around 750 of them: politicians, policemen, regular soldiers and wealthy people. Most of the hostages have been in captivity for many years, some for over a decade.
While the country keeps hoping to start a peace process, the hopes of the hostages are kept alive thanks to a radio show called the "Voices of the Kidnapped". Every Sunday morning from 2am to 6am the families of the hostages send messages through the programme.
Mothers, fathers, wives, husband and children all stand in line for their turn to send a message of remembrance and hope to their loved ones somewhere in the jungle.
The messages are their only link with their loved ones. Most of the families have not received any news of their relative for years. The radio show keeps alive their hope of a reunion.
On rare occasions, the FARC respond to the families by delivering letters, pictures and sometimes videos of the hostages. These are the so called "proof of life" signals that come from the jungle hide-outs of the guerrillas. Every hostage uses his proof of life to ask his family to send him messages through the radio show.
FARC offers radios to the hostages to help them keep in touch with the real world. A hostage that hears the voice of his loved one will eat, walk and try to stay alive knowing that on the other side somebody is still waiting, hoping for their return.
The "Voices of the Kidnapped" is believed to have helped thousands of hostages stay alive in the past thirteen years.
Herbin Hoyos is the Colombian journalist who created the show after being kidnapped by FARC in 1994. He is a hero for the families of the hostages.
One of these families is Angela Perez, the wife of Luis Eladio Perez, a socialist Senator kidnapped by FARC. She used the radio show as a means to keep her hopes high and her captive husband strong. Angela and her family never received a video of her husband during his captivity.
In February 2008 Luis Perez was finally released by FARC - he had spent seven years in captivity.
Source: Al Jazeera