You have to give it to Chavez. He's got a knack for the dramatic.
I'll bet you dollars to donuts that he set up this whole 'rescue' mission to recover the 3 FARC hostages to make himself look like a hero.
If you were able to read the article from El Pais (article in Spanish) that I posted, you will know that there is strong suspicion that these hostages may have been sequestered in Venezuela. So it would be somewhat obvious that if Chavez wanted to act before this time, he could have very well done so under his own authority, and on his own soil.
Chavez is upstaging Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and thumbing his nose at him. Uribe, you will remember, cut off Chavez from negotiating with the FARC because Chavez attempted to circument Uribe and deal with Uribe's military. Chavez is basically saying to Uribe, "you need me to negotiate with the FARC, you can't do it without me."