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Chavez gets go-ahead for hostage mission

 Chavez gets go-ahead for hostage mission
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The waiting may soon be over for the families of a group of Colombian hostages. They heard Venezelan leader Hugo Chavez announce a breakthrough on television yesterday. President Aribe will allow his helicopters to land on Colombian soil in a handover with FARC rebels.

Consuelo Gonzalez’s daughter is thankful to all the people who have worked to get her mother back after six years in captivity;

“I thank all the countries which have collaborated and in advance I thank our Colombian government which I know will cooperate fully”.

Clara Rojas has been held for a year less, and has had a boy, Emmanuel, with a rebel. Ivan Rojas is her brother;

“I thank President Chavez and Senator Cordoba for all their gestures and work with the hostages and with the families of the hostages”

The release of Rojas raises hopes that another hostage could be freed soon, her former employer Ingrid Betancourt. Rojas is her former presidential campaign manager, snatched at the same time as the Franco-Colombian politician.

Chavez is also working towards her release, and Betancourt has other influential friends, too, like French president Nicolas Sarkozy who has been working behind the scenes for her freedom.

Chavez insists he had been in talks to free what he described as all the “political” hostages in Colombia’s 43 year-old insurgency in exchange for 500 rebel fighters, but the US had pressured Uribe to refuse the deal.

A convoy of aircraft will fly to the foot of the Colombian Andes mountains before the helicopters fly on to a secret destination for the handover in the jungle.