- The Washington Times - Monday, November 1, 2004

VENEZUELA

Chavez allies win 21 governorships

CARACAS — Candidates supported by leftist President Hugo Chavez yesterday appeared to have won nearly every state in the gubernatorial elections. Early results from Sunday’s elections showed the opposition winning in just two of the 23 states.

Chavez-backed mayoral candidate Juan Barreto also won here in the nation’s capital.

The results announced by the National Electoral Council were another debilitating blow to the political opposition that accuses Mr. Chavez of conspiring to create a Castro-style regime in the oil-rich South American country.

COLOMBIA

Rebels free four held for three years

BOGOTA — Marxist rebels freed four hostages held in the jungle for more than three years, relatives of the former captives said Sunday.

The four former hostages were flown to Neiva, 150 miles southwest of here, aboard a military plane on Sunday. One of the hostages said their release was unexpected.

The rebels “were transporting us during the past three weeks from the deepest part of the jungle. Finally, yesterday morning, they told us that this was the day, and they were going to release us in the afternoon,” former hostage Anibal Rodriguez told Caracol radio.

“At five in the afternoon, they took us out of the woods, and to our surprise, a priest was waiting for us.” Mr. Rodriguez, daughter Natalia and brother-in-law Jaime Brinez were among 16 persons abducted by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia on July 26, 2001, in Neiva.

ARGENTINA

Canadian woman tortured by thieves

BUENOS AIRES — A Canadian tourist was tortured in western Argentina by robbers who electrocuted her to force her into handing over money, police said Sunday.

Nicole Trimblei, 41, landed in El Plumerillo in western Mendoza province bordering Chile on Oct. 20 to visit her Argentine boyfriend, Lucas Izaguirre, authorities said.

She was met at the airport by two friends of Mr. Izaguirre’s who told her he was unable to make it because of a football injury, police said.

The pair drove her around the city, took her to a museum and treated her “nicely” until they stopped the car in front of a house and stole $1,500, police said. They then used an electric device to make her give up more cash.

She was abandoned in a street, where she was found by supermarket guards. Miss Trimblei’s boyfriend, a woman and her husband were arrested as suspects, police said.

Weekly notes

Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo named lawmaker and party ally Glodomiro Sanchez on Saturday as energy and mines minister, a key post overseeing the booming mining sector that accounts for half of Peru’s exports. Mr. Sanchez replaces Jaime Quijandria, one of the government’s most senior ministers, who will take a two-year post on the board at the World Bank. … The Canadian government signaled its intention yesterday to reintroduce legislation to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana — about a half-ounce. Similar legislation, sharply criticized by U.S. officials, raised fears of tightened security at the Canada-U.S. border, but was scuttled by Canada’s federal elections in June, which automatically killed all pending bills.

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