Chávez referred to the rebel commander’s death for the first time during a televised speech, four days after it was confirmed in a video by a senior rebel leader.”It’s lamentable to see some people happy about someone’s death. We aren’t happy about the death of Manuel Marulanda,” Chávez said.The leftist leader did not elaborate, but said only that he wants better relations with Colombia.Relations have cooled in recent months due to a Colombian military strike on the rebel group in Ecuadorean territory and Colombia’s accusations that Chavez has sought to arm and fund the guerrillas.The rebels have an ideological affinity for Chavez and freed six hostages to Venezuelan officials earlier this year. But Chávez insists he has not been aiding the rebels.Marulanda’s death of a heart attack in March was confirmed by senior rebel leader Timoleon Jimenez said in a video broadcast on Sunday. The guerrilla commander was believed to be 78.
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