Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said today that three of the hostages being held by the Colombian rebel group FARC could be freed within hours. Chávez has received permission from the Colombian government to enter its airspace and retrieve the captives. The captives who might be freed will not include the high-profile Ingrid Betancourt, the French-Colombian former presidential candidate.
But Betancourt's running mate, Clara Rojas, could be freed today, as well as her son, Emmanuel, who was born in captivity. He is thought to be 3 or 4 years old. The hostages have been held since 2002. FARC has been fighting Colombian forces for years in a war that has involved not only the country's military but also right-wing paramilitary groups and drug traffickers.