The father of Colombian footballer Luis Diaz, Luis Manuel Diaz, was released by the National Liberation Army guerrillas (ELN) after 12 days of captivity. The kidnapping was carried out by the northern war front Jose Manuel Martinez Quiroz.
On Thursday, November 9, Luis Manuel Diaz was picked up by an aircraft that flew from Valledupar to a rural area to meet the ELN and rescue him from the kidnapping that has generated deep indignation in the country.
The ELN armed group handed Luis Manuel Diaz over to a humanitarian commission made up of the Ombudsman’s Office, the United Nations, the Catholic Church, and an international delegation from the Red Cross.
The organization posted on its X account: “We thank God for the release of Mr. Luis Diaz! Mons. Francisco Ceballos, bishop of Riohacha, and Mons. Hector Henao, delegate for Church-State relations, who made up the humanitarian commission responsible for facilitating his release, are already with him”.
Although little is known about how the entire release process and approach with the ELN went, the authorities organized everything to ensure that Lucho Diaz’s father was well received and attended to.
The incident occurred on October 28, 2023, in the town of Barrancas, located in the region of La Guajira in Colombia. This is the same place where Diaz spent his formative years, making the event even more personal and heartbreaking for the footballer. According to local sources, Diaz’s parents were intercepted by aggressors when they were in their vehicle. These unidentified individuals then took control of the van in which the couple was traveling and quickly left the scene.
The brief reaction of President Petro
Colombian President Gustavo Petro, for his part, has limited himself to writing on his X account, “Long live Freedom and Peace,” in response to the news that Colombians had been awaiting for 13 days.
Undoubtedly, the president has experienced complex days after the ELN claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of Luis Manuel Díaz, within the context of a bilateral ceasefire and political negotiations with the state. Various voices, including those close to the government coalition, such as former Mayor of Medellín Daniel Quintero, have called for the peace talks to be suspended.
The challenge for the government now will be to rebuild the trust that has undoubtedly been severely undermined. This situation has exposed the weaknesses of a peace process in which Colombia’s first leftist head of state has staked a significant portion of his political capital.