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Friday, 14 December, 2001, 11:20 GMT
Cancer boy's plea to Spanish royals
Andres Felipe
Andres Felipe wants his father home before he dies
A Colombian boy who is terminally ill with cancer has called on the Spanish King and Queen to help bring his kidnapped father home in time for Christmas.

Twelve-year-old Andres Felipe Perez first attracted public sympathy when he asked Colombia's largest guerrilla movement, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), to release his father, Corporal Norberto Perez, before he died from his illness.


I just need my Daddy here at home with me, and that's all

Andres Felipe Pervez
"This message is for the King and Queen of Spain", said the boy's mother, Francia Edith Ocampo, reading out a message broadcast on Spanish television.

"As Andres Felipe's mother, I want to ask you to intercede to secure the release of my husband so that my son can spend Christmas together with him."

"I know it is difficult, but I know your kindness as King and Queen," she went on.


It is one of the most staggering and horrifying demonstrations of FARC cruelty

Semana newspaper
Andres Felipe himself explained what he had requested of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia: "For them to do me the favour of helping me get my father released, and... I'd be very grateful to them if they help me. I just need my Daddy here at home with me, and that's all."

Mr Perez was captured by the FARC in March 2000. The government rejected a proposal to exchange him for a jailed rebel.

The Catholic Church of Colombia called on the FARC to free Mr Perez, and many public figures and ordinary people offered themselves as hostages instead. But the FARC is refusing to give in.

'Simple commodity'

"It is one of the most staggering and horrifying demonstrations of FARC cruelty", said the Bogota weekly Semana.

The guerrillas are unrepentant, however, seeing media manipulation behind the heart-rending story.

"Andres Felipe has become a simple commodity", the FARC said in a statement. "The drama of Andres Felipe is part of the oligarchy's anti-guerrilla publicity campaign."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

03 Dec 01 | Americas
Dying boy touches Colombian hearts
28 Jun 01 | Americas
Colombia rebels free 250
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