Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez waited an unusually silent 24 hours before congratulating Columbia’s Alvaro Uribe for his daring. The bloodless liberation of Ingrid Betancourt has left Chavez looking like a loser. His insistence on talking with FARC rebels yielded nothing, but Uribe’s hardline paid off.
So it is time for Chavez to jump on the Betancourt bandwagon: “In my point of view, I think the time of guns has passed. We live in a different time, so once again I call on the Colombian guerilla leaders to think it over. I’m sure almost all the countries on this continent, especially those of south America, would be ready to form a group guaranteeing a peace deal.”
The question is will Uribe still feel obliged to offer one, or does he scent victory at last after 40 years of insurgency?
FARC has recently lost manpower, territory, and a trio of leaders. Now it appears internal security is compromised. Betancourt has asked for Chavez and the Ecuadorian president to repair their ties with Uribe and together bring peace to Colombia.