As I stated in a previous post, he wanted to use the hostage release to one-up Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. Chavez failed.
Here is an article from the New York Times which reiterates my supposition that Chavez was trying to trump Uribe.
Please pay special note to the second to last paragraph:
Now the failed mission has exposed Mr. Chávez to criticism of misplaced priorities. As he worked to mediate the release of hostages in Colombia, in Venezuela kidnappings are spiraling. Some estimates show that Venezuela has more abductions per capita than Colombia now, but the Venezuelan government has done little to tackle the problem.
This is the first article I've read that mentions the issue of kidnappings in Venezuela. I've hearcd from my friend in Venezuela that kidnappings are increasing, especially along the border with Colombia, but nothing in the mainstream media.
A rather 'unbiased' article from the New York Times I'd say.