Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has admitted that his army broke the Geneva Conventions and used the Red Cross emblem during the operation that secured the release of 15 FARC hostages including Ingrid Betancourt.
Colombia has launched an investigation over allegations that a Swiss hostage mediator, Jean-Pierre Gontard, paid 500,000 dollars to the FARC rebels. Fifteen hostages were released from the FARC earlier this month.
In a hostage situation when a ransom is demanded, is it a wise strategy to give in to those demands, or does it play into kidnappers' hands? A disputed claim of ransom paid to FARC in the rescue of Ingrid Betancourt has again raised the question.
Citing an email found on the computer of the FARC rebels' former N.2, Colombian television claims the French government paid a ransom for Ingrid Betancourt's release in 2003, though Paris immediately denied the allegations. (Report: C. Westerheide)
Cuba's former leader Fidel Castro posted an Internet article urging the Colombian rebels to release the hundreds of hostages they had kidnapped, though he also advised them against laying down their weapons.
As the former FARC hostages freed alongside Ingrid Betancourt checked out of hospital, the French-Colombian politician embarked on a campaign to obtain the release of the 700 still held by the rebel group.