Ignoring the wishes of his Colombian counterpart, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez is continuing his efforts to negotiate with rebels holding hostages in Colombia. President Alvaro Uribe ended Chavez’s official involvement after becoming fed up with his maverick methods. The Venezuelan President said he had asked the FARC group to send him evidence that hostages are still alive:
“Maybe it’s on its way, coming through the jungle,” he added.
Uribe’s sudden termination of Chavez’s role in the negotiations is a blow to the populist leader, who had been seeking to enhance his credentials as a statesman ahead of a referendum on scrapping Presidential term limits. Chavez angered Uribe by holding direct talks with the FARC guerrillas’ chief, in breach of an agreement between the two Presidents.
The final straw appears to have come when Chavez also contacted Colombia’s top military commander requesting information about the hostages, which he was not mandated to do.