( dpa )- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday asked governments in the Americas and in Europe to withdraw leftist Colombian rebel groups from their lists of terrorist organizations.
In his annual state of the nation address to the Venezuelan Congress, Chavez said the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) are true "insurgent" armies, not terrorists.
Over the past year, Chavez has led efforts to free hostages held by FARC in the Colombian jungle, at one point being removed as mediator after a conflict with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe . On Thursday politicians Clara Rojas and Consuelo Gonzalez were released.
The two women had both been held by FARC for more than five years, along with an estimated more than 700 others, some of whome have been held for more than 10 years.