Threatened Colombian Peace Adviser Flees
BOGOTA, Colombia, Oct. 6 -- A key figure in Colombia's peace efforts
said today he was fleeing the country after receiving death threats from
"I have my heart in my throat, it hurts me to leave the country," said
Alberto Pinzon, an advisory committee member to a Colombian peace commission
solution to the country's 37-year-old civil war.
Pinzon, a doctor who had written a report criticizing the outlawed paramilitary
fighters, said he would leave his family and request asylum in Havana.
"I have received
many threats over the Internet, over the telephone. There are enemies of peace that are forcing me to leave the country for my safety," he said.
The advisory committee, which originally had four members, has lost half of its members in recent months as tensions have risen over negotiations.
The talks had been pushed to the brink of collapse when the Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, killed a popular former culture minister,
Araujo, on Sept. 29. Araujo was also the inspector general's wife.
But in a move that is expected to salvage talks, the FARC agreed late Friday to stop its roadside kidnappings and begin immediate discussions of a cease-fire.
Analysts say the FARC concessions should be enough for President Andres
Pastrana to continue allowing rebels to use a demilitarized enclave in
the country's south,
which the military is barred from entering. The agreement on the zone expires at midnight Tuesday and Pastrana had warned he might send in the army.