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Castro chides FARC for taking hostages

July 4, 2008 at 8:53 PM

HAVANA, July 4 (UPI) -- Former Cuban President Fidel Castro criticized the Colombian FARC guerrillas for holding Ingrid Betancourt and others hostage for years.

Castro, who has dropped his public duties, said at the end of a historical article in the Cuban official newspaper Granma he was "gladdened" by news of Betancourt's release, the Miami Herald reported. He said the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia should not have taken civilian hostages or kept soldiers prisoner for years in jungle camps.

"Those were objectively cruel actions," Castro said. "No revolutionary purpose could justify them. In due course, it will be necessary to analyze the subjective factors in depth. In Cuba, we won our revolutionary war by granting immediate and unconditional freedom to our prisoners."

Betancourt and several other hostages were freed Wednesday by Colombian forces.