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Freed Colombian Rebel Travels to Cuba


A senior Colombian rebel has traveled to Cuba after being freed from government detention.

Rodrigo Granda of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, went to Cuba Monday, accompanied by a Catholic priest. Granda says he is visiting Cuba for a medical checkup.

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe freed the rebel two weeks ago at the request of French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The French leader has expressed hope Granda could help facilitate the release of a French-Colombian politician, Ingrid Betancourt, who was kidnapped by FARC rebels in 2002.

FARC is also holding three U.S. citizens.

Granda has downplayed hopes he will use his trip to Cuba to try to secure the release of the hostages.

He says hostages will only be freed if the government meets FARC's long-standing demands for a demilitarized zone in Colombia and the release of two rebels held in U.S. jails.

President Uribe has rejected demands for a rebel safe haven.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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