Chavez to FARC: lay down your arms

This is strange:

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.

“Uncharacteristic” is an understatement. What could account for this? It’s possible that Chavez has decided on a Qadhafi-style rehabilitation of his image, but that doesn’t strike me as likely.  Perhaps this has something to do with the captured FARC files?

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