NUEVAS EVIDENCIAS DE LA COMPLICIDAD DE CHÁVEZ CON LAS FARC.NY.TIMES ..
- From: AnaRomFL@xxxxxxxxx (Petry)
- Date: Mon, 3 Aug 2009 13:00:25 -0400
By SIMON ROMERO
Published: August 2, 2009
CARACAS, Venezuela ? Despite repeated denials by President Hugo
Chávez, Venezuelan officials have continued to assist commanders of
Colombia's largest rebel group, helping them arrange weapons deals in
Venezuela and even obtain identity cards to move with ease on Venezuelan
soil, according to computer material captured from the rebels in recent
months and under review by Western intelligence agencies.
Skip to next paragraph
Enlarge This Image
Leonardo Munoz/European Pressphoto Agency
New evidence points to collaborations between members of the Venezuelan
government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. A
Colombian soldier inspected the area after an aerial bombardment against
the FARC in July.
Times Topics: Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) | Colombia |
Hugo Chavez | Venezuela
Enlarge This Image
Thomas Coex/Agence France-Presse ? Getty Images
President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, left, appearing with Foreign
Minister Nicolas Maduro, froze diplomatic relations with Colombia in
The New York Times
One message discussed a plan for an arms deal in Amazonas.
The materials point to detailed collaborations between the guerrillas
and high-ranking military and intelligence officials in Mr. Chávez's
government as recently as several weeks ago, countering the president's
frequent statements that his administration does not assist the rebels.
"We do not protect them," he said in late July.
The new evidence ? drawn from computer material captured from the
rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC ?
comes at a low point for ties between Venezuela and Colombia. Mr.
Chávez froze diplomatic relations in late July, chafing at assertions
by Colombia's government that Swedish rocket launchers sold to Venezuela
ended up in the hands of the FARC. Venezuela's reaction was also fueled
by Colombia's plans to increase American troop levels there.
"Colombia's government is trying to build a case in the media against
our country that serves its own political agenda," said Bernardo
Álvarez, Venezuela's ambassador in Washington, describing the latest
intelligence information as "noncorroborated."
Mr. Chávez has disputed claims of his government's collaboration with
the rebels since Colombian forces raided a FARC encampment in Ecuador
last year. During the raid, Colombian commandos obtained the computers
of a FARC commander with encrypted e-mail messages that described a
history of close ties between Mr. Chávez's government and the rebel
group, which has long crossed over into Venezuelan territory for refuge.
The newest communications, circulated among the seven members of the
FARC's secretariat, suggest that little has changed with Venezuela's
assistance since the raid. The New York Times obtained a copy of the
computer material from an intelligence agency that is analyzing it.
One message from Iván Márquez, a rebel commander thought to operate
largely from Venezuelan territory, describes the FARC's plan to buy
surface-to-air missiles, sniper rifles and radios in Venezuela last
It is not clear whether the arms Mr. Márquez refers to ended up in
FARC hands. But he wrote that the effort was facilitated by Gen. Henry
Rangel Silva, the director of Venezuela's police intelligence agency
until his removal last month, and by Ramón Rodríguez Chacín, a
former Venezuelan interior minister who served as Mr. Chávez's
official emissary to the FARC in negotiations to free hostages last
In the message, Mr. Márquez discusses a plan by Mr. Rodríguez
Chacín to carry out the deal near the Río Negro in Amazonas State in
Venezuela. Mr. Márquez goes further, explaining that General Rangel
Silva gave the arms dealers documents they could use to move around
freely while in Venezuela.
Intelligence of this kind has been a source of tension between Colombia
and Venezuela, with the government here claiming the information is
false and used to further political ends. Colombian officials, by
contrast, argue that the intelligence proves that the FARC survives in
part on its ability to operate from Venezuela's frontier regions.
The latest evidence, suggesting that the FARC operates easily in
Venezuela, may put the Obama administration in a tough spot. President
Obama has recently tried to repair Washington's relations with
Venezuela, adopting a nonconfrontational approach to Mr. Chávez that
stands in contrast to the Bush administration's often aggressive
response to his taunts and insults.
But the United States and the European Union still classify the FARC as
a terrorist organization. The Treasury Department accused General Rangel
Silva and Mr. Rodríguez Chacín last year of assisting the FARC's
drug trafficking activities, opening the officials to freezes on their
assets, fines and prison terms of up to 30 years in the United States.
Venezuela has said the men are not guilty of those charges.
"We do not comment on intelligence matters," said Noel Clay, a State
Department spokesman, in relation to the latest captured communications.
A spokesman from the Colombian Foreign Ministry declined to comment on
Computer records obtained in the Colombian raid in Ecuador last year
appeared to corroborate the assertion that Venezuela helped the FARC
acquire the Swedish-made rocket launchers at the heart of the latest
diplomatic dispute between the two countries. The launchers were
purchased by the Venezuelan Army in the late 1980s but captured in
Colombia in combat operations against the FARC last year.
The FARC's use of Swedish arms has an added dimension: the rebels
kidnapped a Swedish engineer in Colombia in 2007, holding him hostage
for nearly two years ? during which he was reported to have suffered
brain damage and paralysis from a stroke ? before releasing him in
"The issue of these weapons is extremely serious for us," said Tommy
Stromberg, the political officer at the Swedish Embassy in Bogotá, the
Colombian capital, which also oversees Sweden's affairs in Venezuela.
Mr. Stromberg said Venezuela had bought Swedish arms as recently as
2006. "We have asked Venezuela's Foreign Ministry for clarification on
how this happened, but have not had a response."
The computer records from the raid in Ecuador last year also seem to
match some of the information in the new communications under review by
Western intelligence officials.
For example, a message obtained in the Ecuador raid and written in
September 2007 contained an earlier reference to the arms deal discussed
recently by the FARC. In the earlier message, Mr. Márquez, the rebel
commander, referred to dealers he described as Australian, and went into
detail about the arms they were selling, including Dragunov rifles, SA-7
missiles and HF-90M radios, the same items he discusses in the more
Another file from the Ecuador raid mentioning an offer from the FARC to
instruct Venezuelan officers in guerrilla warfare matches recently
obtained material from a rebel commander, Timoleón Jiménez, that
says the course took place. Other communications refer to FARC efforts
to secure Venezuelan identity cards in a plan overseen by General Rangel
Silva, the former Venezuelan intelligence chief.
In other material captured as recently as May, Mr. Márquez, the rebel
commander, said Mr. Chávez had spoken personally with Mr. Jiménez,
expressing solidarity for the FARC's struggle. Then Mr. Márquez went
into more mundane matters, referring to unspecified problems the FARC
had recently encountered in La Fría, an area in Venezuela near the
border with Colombia.
Next Article in World (6 of 33) » A version of this article appeared
in print on August 3, 2009, on page A1 of the New York edition.
SIGN IN TO E-MAIL
- Prev by Date: Re: Blanca el video que Ud me mando a buscar hace dias que lo tengo...
- Next by Date: NUEVAS EVIDENCIAS DE LA COMPLICIDAD DE CHÁVEZ CON LAS FARC.NY.TIMES ..
- Previous by thread: Blanca el video que Ud me mando a buscar hace dias que lo tengo...
- Next by thread: NUEVAS EVIDENCIAS DE LA COMPLICIDAD DE CHÁVEZ CON LAS FARC.NY.TIMES ..