Dear Democracy Now! Visitor: We are an independent, ad-free daily news program that serves millions of viewers and listeners each month. In this US election year, Democracy Now! is more important than ever. For 20 years, we’ve put a spotlight on corporate and government abuses of power. We lift up the stories of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. We do all of this with just a fraction of the budget and staff of a commercial news show. We do it without ads, corporate sponsorship or government funding. How is this possible? Only with your support. A generous funder will match your donation dollar for dollar if you donate right now. That means when you give $10, your donation will be worth $20. Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you every day.

Your Donation: $

The Colombian Government Declares a War Zone in a Large Part of Southern Columbia and Expands Military Special Powers After the Revolutionary Armed Force of Colombia Kidnap Members of Congress

March 01, 2002

The Colombian government has picked up on the Bush administration’s rhetoric of terrorism as it declares a war zone in a large part of southern Colombia and expands military special powers. President Andres Pastrana warned citizens to expect more "terrorist" attacks from the rebels yesterday, in his first televised address to the nation since breaking off peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Force of Colombia last week.

Yesterday Pastrana rejected a one-year deadline to swap guerrillas in state jails for hostages held by FARC, including several members of Congress. The FARC hostages include Ingrid Betancourt, a presidential candidate with the small Oxygen Green party, who was taken on Saturday as she tried to enter the former rebel safe haven, a Switzerland-sized chunk of territory in the south, which Pastrana ceded to the FARC as a peace gesture four years ago. But after the FARC hijacked a civilian airliner and kidnapped a high-level senator, Pastrana reclaimed the zone and called off peace talks on Colombia’s 38-year civil war.

Backed by an air force bombing campaign, the Colombian army has moved in on the former enclave to reassert control. The FARC has emerged out of the jungle to step up attacks on power lines, knocking out power to more than 50 towns, mainly in southern Colombia.

Today, activists in Bogota are will hold a demonstration to call for the resumption of the peace talks between the government and the FARC, and for the safe return of the hostages. We are joined by one of the organizers, the husband of Ingrid Betancourt, Juan Lecompte.


  • Juan Lecompte, husband of Senator and Oxygen Green Party presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, kidnapped by the FARC on Saturday.

Related link:

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.