Freed Farc hostage and son reunited

Clara Rojas returns to Colombia to see son who was taken from her three years ago.

    Rojas, right, flew back to Colombia with her mother and other family members [EPA]
    Rojas, 44, who only found out her son was alive in a New Year's Eve radio broadcast, met the toddler on Sunday afternoon after flying into Bogota's military airport with her family from Caracas, where she had been since her release on Thursday.
    Rojas, an aide to Ingrid Betancourt, the French-Colombian politician still being held by Farc, was greeted by Colombia's defence minister and chief peace negotiator.
    "I am extremely moved to be back in my land ... I feel like I've been reborn, I am living again," she said.
    Failed escape
    Rohas said "this is not a total happiness because many [hostages] remain and we are waiting for them".
    Reporting from Bogota, Al Jazeera's Monica Villamizar said Rojas revealed that she and Betancourt escaped their captors and were in the Colombian jungles for three days before being recaptured. 

    Gonzalez was also released on Thursday [EPA]

    The failed escape affected their friendship as the two blamed each other, she said.


    Villamizar also said that Emmanuel, who was born to Rojas and a Farc soldier in April 2004, was removed from her care at eight months because he had contracted a tropical illness and needed medical attention.


    But the promised 15-day separation turned out to be three years.


    A peasant delivered him to Colombian social services, which - unaware of his identity - placed him in a foster home in Bogota where he has been for the past two years.


    Elvira Forero, the director of the Colombian Family Welfare Institute, which has been caring for Emmanuel, said the boy had undergone psychological preparations for the emotional reunion with his mother and would not go home with his mother right away, needing to prepare for the transition.


    Chavez intervention

    Meanwhile, Chavez said on Sunday that he would try to persuade the Farc rebels to lay down their weapons if Colombia's US-backed government allows him to meet with the rebels' commander.
    Chavez also accused Washington of fomenting Colombia's decades-old armed conflict, saying that unceasing warfare provides "the perfect excuse" to maintain a military presence in the Andean nation, which has received billions of dollars in military aid from the US.
    "I don't agree with the armed struggle, and that's one of the things I want to discuss with [rebel leader Manuel] Marulanda," he said on his weekly TV programme.
    Chavez also urged Alvaro Uribe, his Colombian counterpart, to recognise Farc and the National Liberation Army as legitimate groups - rather than terrorists - as a first step towards possible peace talks.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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