JI says Washington has good reason to be pleased with Chavez's remarks, and firstly because Colombia is a US ally and second because of the FARC's hostage issues: the FARC is holding three American nationals. This will give a lot of hope to the relatives of these American hostages. (These contractors have been held for several years now. what does it mean that Chavez has called on the FARC to end their decades-long struggle?) Many people will be surprised by Chavez's move who has in the past expressed support for the FARC. (What is the political goal of the FARC?) It's based on a Marxist ideology that the FARC are fighting for the rights of the poor and of indigenous Colombians. But now Chavez is telling them that this kind of guerilla war is history, and he also said this provides the perfect excuse for the US to threaten the region. Chavez is accused of supporting the FARC by Colombia and the US. the Venezuelan government denies any wrongdoings but it's putting pressure on Chavez. (How much pull does Chavez actually have?) He clearly has some clout in the region but the FARC do listen to him. The FARC are now at a pivotal moment and they've lost several high and low ranking members. So there could now be some sort of development in the region. (Is the fact that Venezuela's president calling on the FARC to disband, does that mean he's trying to position himself as the way forward?) Absolutely. Chavez wants to unite South America. He has some allies in the area but there are also differences, such as between Colombia and Venezuela. Chavez sees South America as going in his direction and he believes if the FARC disbands, Colombia could go in his direction as well.

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