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Venezuela's Chavez urges Colombia's largest rebel group to end armed struggle

Venezuela's Chavez urges Colombia's largest rebel group to end armed struggle

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez urged Colombian rebels on Sunday to lay down their weapons, unilaterally free dozens of hostages and put an end to a decades-long armed struggle against Colombia's government.
Chavez sent an unexpected message to leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, saying their ongoing efforts to overthrow Colombia's democratically-elected government were unjustified.
"The guerrilla war is history," said Chavez, speaking during his weekly television and radio program. "At this moment in Latin America, an armed guerrilla movement is out of place."
The strong statements were uncharacteristic of Chavez, a self-described socialist who earlier this year called on world governments to remove the FARC from terrorist lists and suggested the guerrillas should be recognized as a legitimate insurgent force.
The Venezuelan leader's comments could help improve diplomatic relations between Colombia and Venezuela that have been strained for months due to Colombia's allegations that Chavez could be aiding the FARC.
Chavez has repeatedly denied secretly supporting the FARC, and says his government's contacts with the guerrillas have been aimed only at securing the release of rebel-held hostages.


Updated : 2021-07-29 11:31 GMT+08:00