It seems Hugo Chavez's feverish mind never stops formulating ways to annoy his neighbors while adding luster to his own over-inflated ego.
His latest scheme was to negotiate with the Colombian communist rebel group FARC and to secure the release of some of the civilians FARC hold in durance vile like Clara Rojas and Bettencourt, both women have been in captivity for over six years. This scheme would have made Chavez seem like a humanitarian and publicly humiliate Colombian President Uribe who has continued the decades long battle against FARC. Another factor on the Chavez animus towards Uribe is, the United States supports Uribe and his desire to create a peaceful and whole country.
So El Presidente Hugo Chavez clattered into Colombian airspace just a few weeks ago with an entourage that included American film-maker Oliver Stone to secure the release of a few hostages, including a child. So there sat Hugo for several days waiting and waiting. And the FARC never showed up. So the grand ploy was instead a grand bust it seemed as Hugo and company sweltered.
But just when everyone thought this small play had run its three acts, to many there was a fourth act that is just now unfolding. It seems back in 2005 a child ended up in Bogota's social services system as a foster-child. Acting on a tip, the Uribe government had this child, named Emmanuel - good name for the Christmas season, genetically tested against members of Clara Rojas' family and they found a match. This child was the child the FARC was supposed to release into Hugo Chavez's custody as the cameras snapped pictures. Which might explain why the swap never happened; very bad PR if you can't cough up one of the hostages. The Colombian government is asking for European assistance to run a second DNA test to verify their findings. But the true match will not come until Clara Rojas is released by the FARC from her six years of captivity. Meanwhile in Venezuela they are sniffing disdainfully at this news because they were never consulted, my how haughty they are.
As we all celebrate a new year full of hope, lets add all those held in captivity by FARC find freedom - including the three American civilian contractors the FARC captured when their plane went down.