CARACOL RADIO (Colombia)
FLORENCIA - Among the first to react to the release Wednesday of Roméo Langlois, a French journalist who was captured in late April by members of Colombia's FARC, was one of the guerilla army's old nemeses: ex-President Álvaro Uribe (2002-2010). But rather than celebrate the handover, Uribe used the opportunity to question what Langlois had been doing in Colombia in the first place.
Addressing the reporter via Twitter, Uribe wrote: "Langlois: journalistic curiosity is one thing, identifying with terrorism is another." The conservative ex-president didn't stop there. "What was he doing in Colombia?" Uribe questioned. "What was his relationship with the FARC?" Caracol Radio reported.
Uribe's comments come a week after one of the French journalist's documentaries, called Pour tout l'or de Colombie (For all the Gold in Colombia), was screened in Bogota. Langlois worked on the film with French journalist Pascale Mariani. It shows how gold mining is helping fund the country's decades-old civil war. Among other things, the film suggests that Uribe himself has a personal stake in the gold mining business.
Speaking to reporters just after the handover, Langlois dismissed Uribe's comments as being "a farce" and "in bad taste." The 35-year-old journalist also criticized his captors, saying they put political concerns before humanitarian considerations.
"I didn't need this experience to have a good understanding of either the conflict or the guerrilla," said Langlois, who has spent a dozen years as a correspondent in Colombia. "I'm left with the conviction that this conflict needs to keep being covered."
Langlois was seized by FARC operatives on April 29 in Unión Peneya, in the southern Colombian department of Caquetá.