Colombian hostages arrive in Venezuela

Jan. 10, 2008 at 5:59 PM

CARACAS, Venezuela, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Two hostages held for several years by Colombian leftist rebels arrived in Venezuela Thursday after the Venezuelan government negotiated their release.

On arriving in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas by private jet, both former hostages, Clara Rojas and Consuelo Gonzalez, thanked Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for securing their release from their captors, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, Globovision TV reported.

Venezuela has played an integral role in trying to recover the hostages -- including Rojas, a one-time aide to fellow detainee Ingrid Betancourt, who was running for Colombia's presidency at the time of her capture in 2002.

Colombia had earlier rejected offers of Venezuelan intervention in securing the release of the hostages, though earlier this week decided to let the Chavez administration intervene.

FARC rebels have been battling the Colombian government for more than 40 years.

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