Venezuela To Pick Up Hostages in Colombia

Guerrillas will release under Chavez plan
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2007 5:48 PM CST
A boy looks at photos of police and soldiers who were kidnapped by rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces or FARC, in Bogota, Colombia, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2007, at a demonstration demanding the release...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Three hostages held for more than five years by Marxist guerrillas will soon go free after Colombia agreed today to a handover plan engineered by Hugo Chavez, Reuters reports. Venezuelan planes and helicopters will pick up Clara Rojas, a former vice presidential candidate kidnapped in 2002; the young son she had in captivity; and a former lawmaker.

The liberation of the captives could spur the release of other kidnap victims, including three US contractors. Colombian authorities have cracked down on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, but they continue to hold around 750 hostages for ransom and political leverage, Reuters notes. Colombian leaders bristled at the intervention by Chavez but agreed to the rescue under the Red Cross banner.