Mission Begins to Rescue Hostages in Colombia

Chavez sends choppers into jungle
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2007 9:52 AM CST
Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe, delivers a speech in Cota, Colombia, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2007. Colombia's government said Wednesday that it was canceling Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's mediation...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Helicopters sent by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez to rescue hostages from Colombian rebels have landed at the edge of a Colombian wilderness and are awaiting a go-ahead from the rebels, the BBC reports. Guerrillas plan to release two women, seized more than five years ago, and a young boy fathered in captivity. International observers shadowing the operation include filmmaker Oliver Stone.

Stone, an admirer of Chavez who is in Venezuela to research a documentary, called the hostage mission a "beautiful, great process." Chavez in exchange praised Stone as an "anti-imperialist...good man." The Colombian government, less enchanted with the mission, has accused Chavez of overstepping his bounds by establishing direct contact with the FARC rebel group.