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Colombia's Betancourt thanks Chavez

Dec. 10, 2008 at 12:28 AM

CARACAS, Venezuela, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Ex-hostage Ingrid Betancourt has thanked Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for his efforts to free those held by Colombian rebels, El Universal reported Tuesday.

Betancourt, who was held for several years by the Colombian rebel group known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, said Chavez played an integral role in helping free hostages, El Universal said.

In 2007, Chavez acted as a mediator between FARC and the Colombian government in talks to release hostages.

However, Colombia then dropped Chavez as a negotiator. saying his role went against international protocol.

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