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Colombia shoots self in foot

Smooth move, Alvaro the Nasty, Brutish and Short. You just majorly jeopardized your own peace process.

Colombia's government said Wednesday that it was canceling Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's mediation role with leftist rebels in a possible hostage swap.

President Alvaro Uribe's press secretary said the decision was made because Chavez directly spoke with the head of Colombia's army earlier in the day about the state of hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

In calling the army chief, Gen. Mario Montoya, Chavez defied Uribe's order that the Venezuelan leader not speak with Colombian military leaders about the issue, said Cesar Mauricio Velasquez, the presidential spokesman.

The news was announced late Wednesday in a hastily convened news conference.

[...]

As late as Wednesday afternoon, however, Colombian government officials were praising the mediation role of Venezuela's socialist leader.

"Chavez is playing an excellent role and for that we are grateful," Luis Carlos Restrepo, the government's chief peace negotiator, said in an interview with The Associated Press.

And of course, all this comes as Chavecito is in France, and has just gotten the surprising vote of confidence from another nasty, brutish and short right-wing president, Nicolas Sarkozy. In fact, Aporrea reports that Sarko thinks that if anyone can pull off a peace accord, Chavecito is it. You don't get any higher praise from an archcapitalist for a socialist.

Hey Alvaro, if you really don't want to succeed in ending that civil war and freeing the hostages on their side and the political prisoners on yours, why don't you just come out and say it? Why get people's hopes up, only to let it end in farce?