Asylum for Bogota guerrillas?
Bogota, Colombia — Hopes for an end to the Dominican Republic Embassy hostage drama brightened as Colombian authorities expressed fresh interest in Cuban President Fidel Castro's offer of asylum for the guerrillas holding the embassy. Monitor Latin America correspondent James Nelson Goodsell writes that at the moment there appear to be few other solutions to the embassy impasse under study. Colombian President Julio Cesar Turbay Ayala wrote Dr. Castro Monday to indicate Colombia may accept the Cuban offer.
And the guerrillas, members of the Movimiento de 19 Abril (Movement of April 19 or M-19), are leaning toward accepting the Cuban offer, according to Bogota informants.
M-19 guerrillas have been holding 11 ambassadors, 2 charges d'affaires, and 16 others for three weeks. Among them is United States Ambassador Diego Asencio.
The M-19 has demanded the release of at least 70 jailed comrades as a condition for freeing the hostages. Dr. Castro, offering asylum for the guerrillas at the embassy, has suggested he would also give asylum to guerrillas released from jail -- and would promise not to allow any of them to return to Colombia.