Havana, Cuba: The FARC of Colombia has released a statement indicating their willing ness to release Kevin Scott Sutay, US citizen captured by the FARC in June 2013, to the custody of the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr, President and Founder of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
Rev. Jackson, currently in Cuba, has communicated with the FARC and accepted their proposal to accept Mr. Sutay and bring him home to the United States to be reunited with his family. The proposal has been communicated to Colombian President Santos.
These positive developments followed initial overtures made by Rev. Jackson and FARC representatives that began last week while Rev. Jackson was in Colombia for a world conference focusing on Afro-Colombian issues.
Reverend Jackson commented, “I commend the FARC for agreeing to release Mr. Sutay on humanitarian grounds. I hope Mr. Sutay will now be able to return to the U.S., reunite with his family, and get on with a normal life. I am convinced that releasing captives can open doors for further dialogue, reduce tensions and advance the cause of peace. I hope the release of Mr. Sutay might stimulate progress on the peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC, end to the violence in the country, and pave the way for a lasting peace.”
The release of Mr. Sutay follows a series of humanitarian missions led by Rev. Jackson to free hostages imprisoned abroad:
• His negotiations with President Hafez al-Assad of Syria in 1983 that led to the release of captured Navy Lt. Robert Goodman in 1983 (See Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Goodman)
• 49 Cuban and Cuban American prisoners in Cuba were released in 1984 following his negotiations with President Fidel Castro (see Christian Science Monitor story,http://www.csmonitor.com/1984/0628/062832.html)
• In 1990, Rev. Jackson negotiated with Iraq’s Saddam Hussein to release hundreds of citizens from the UK, France and other countries being held in Iraq as “human shields” during the war over Kuwait (http://www.nytimes.com/1990/09/03/us/confrontation-gulf-700-hostages-fly-freedom-there-relief-but-little-rejoicing.html?n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fPeople%2fH%2fHussein%2c%20Saddam; http://articles.latimes.com/1990-09-02/news/mn-2041_1_western-women)
• In 1999, Reverend Jackson negotiated with President Slobodan Milosevic to secure the release of U.S. soldiers held hostage in Kosovo (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/331137.stm;http://www.ncccusa.org/news/99news55.html)
• In 2000, Rev. Jackson helped negotiate the release of four journalists working on a documentary for Britain’s Channel 4 network held in Liberia (http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=82803&page=1; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/liberia/1367068/Jackson-plea-to-free-film-crew.html)
• In 2012, Rev. Jackson negotiated with President Jammeh of The Gambia to secure the release of two US-Gambian citizens, and to secure a stay on the planned executions of 38 prisoners held on death row.
• (http://rainbowpush.org/news/single/reverend_jesse_jackson_negotiates_freedom_for_two_americans_held_in_gambia; http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0912/81475.html;http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/15211820-418/rev-jesse-jackson-convinces-gambia-to-release-two-jailed-americans.html)