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A family has been going through a year of agony because of the kidnapping, they paid a handsome ransom 10 days ago, but the guerrillas have not freed the hostage and said that the monies paid would only cover food and medication expenses.
Last January 8th was the date that the family from Antioquia dreamed of waking up from this kidnapping nightmare, but the infamy of the Farc, which one year ago kidnapped Rogelio Hernández, ended their hope and prolonged their pain. At the time of paying the agreed ransom some months back, the guerillas kept the money but did not set the victim free.
"This money is for the food and medication that we have supplied this year, come up with 140 million pesos for the return of your brother", were the harsh words from the head guerilla when Luz Enith spoke to him regarding her loved one by cellular telephone.
The guerillas, that for one year identified themselves as the 18th Front of the Farc, made an appointment with the sister of the victim for the delivery of the ransom money in the hamlet of Tarazá.
Luz Enith travelled in the early hours wit the idea of returning that same day with her brother, who was kidnapped in December 2008 at the family farm in the hamlet of Corozalito, in Puerto Libertador, Córdoba.
The subversive members of the Farc did not liberate Rogelio, a retired man of 62 years of age, but they did steal the money from a local priest, who met up with them in a remote zone of the hamlet. Rogelio’s sister did not keep the appointment because the inhabitants of the rural area recommended against it for fear she too would be kidnapped.
"The man who identified himself as the leader of the group said that I should have gone to the meeting as planned, I responded that I was ill and could not walk, Luz Enith tells us-. I told him I had the money and asked where my brother was and he responded that he was two hours away and said that I owed them 140 million pesos. I felt bad and told him he was not a serious man that that was the amount agreed upon".
That was the last communication with Rogelio’s captors, and since then, he family has not received any more phone calls.
The tragedy following this family from Antioquia started on the night of December 28, when they were gathered waiting to celebrate the New Year.
Luz Enith remembers a group of armed men arriving in a violent manner. "Some hooded men with guns arrived, mistreated us and threatened to shoot my brother because he didn’t stop praying out loud, then they took my father, they wanted to take him away and that’s when I told them that he was 91 years old and that he didn’t see well and couldn’t walk".
After verifying this, one of the guerillas said: "This one is no good to us". Then Luz Enith told us-, two men took Rogelio and forced him to go with them towards the wilderness.
A few months later, the phone calls began, in which the guerillas demanded 600 million pesos to free Rogelio. During a year of "negotiations", the family believed they had reached an agreement to free Rogelio for 60 million pesos, the money they had delivered 10 days ago.
As a proof of life, on two occasions they were able to speak to him by cellular telephone. The last time they spoke, in November, he desperately asked his family to rescue him. "It was very hard for us, he said he couldn’t take it anymore, that we should sell the farm, his car and he told us where to find a bank booklet, which we managed to get to him, so that he could sign and be able to take-out money that he has been saving so we could complete the total amount of 60 million pesos that we paid", said a family member.
Now the family, which went into debt attempting to gather the ransom money, is living a nightmare over the fate of Rogelio, who was diagnosed with diabetes, high blood-pressure and who needs a special diet. According to his sister Luz Enith, "the family is living a daily anguish; all of their health has diminished due to this event. Rogelio is the emotional and economical support of the family".
As if the drama of the kidnapping and the insolence on behalf of the guerillas weren’t enough, the family stopped collecting Rogelio’s pension, income necessary for supporting the household, because in order for a retiree to receive this benefit, a survival certificate is necessary which they cannot present since their relative is in captivity.