As Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador prepare to have their armies make a run for the borders, Alvaro Uribe accused Hugo Chavez of funding the terrorist organization FARC. In its lightning raid across the Ecuadorian border to strike at FARC’s leadership, the Colombian army captured some critical intelligence at the camp of FARC leader Raul Reyes. Included in that was a thank-you note from Chavez for an earlier contribution to his own cause:
Colombia’s police chief, Gen. Oscar Naranjo, said documents recovered from a slain rebel leader’s computer indicate Chavez recently sent $300 million to Colombian guerrillas. He said another document indicates the rebels sent money to Chavez when he was a jailed coup leader more than a decade ago.
Naranjo said the files were recovered from a laptop owned by the rebel known as Raul Reyes, who was killed Saturday in a Colombian commando raid on a camp just across the border in Ecuador.
“A note recovered from Raul Reyes speaks of how grateful Chavez was for the 100 million pesos (about $150,000 at the time) that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, delivered to Chavez when he was in prison,” Naranjo told a news conference in Bogota.
Colombia has long complained about the lack of response from Ecuador and Venezuela when FARC runs across the borders to avoid capture or combat. Now Uribe has an even better argument — that the support for narco-terrorists in Venezuela runs deeper than just turning a blind eye to their presence. Chavez apparently has them on the payroll.
Several nations have offered to assist in diplomacy to settle the conflict between Ecuador and Colombia, including the US. However, no one apparently wants to include Chavez in these talks. The incursion didn’t involve Venezuelan territory, and unless Chavez wants to admit that FARC is little more now than his proxy to undermine Uribe, the ranting socialist has no dog in this fight.
Will Venezuela back down? Or will Chavez make the mistake of acting overtly outside his borders and provide enough provocation to get a rapid response from the US?
UPDATE: According to Helen Murphy at Bloomberg, the files recovered by the Colombian army also showed that FARC wanted uranium so that they could join the rilly kewl terrorists around the world:
The documents on the computer of Raul Reyes, the second in command of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, indicate that Venezuela provided the guerrillas with at least $300 million and would help Chavez in the event of a U.S. attack on Venezuela.
Naranjo said the FARC, as the group is known, was seeking to buy 50 kilos of uranium for bomb making with aim of getting involved in international terrorism.
I guess they missed their invitation to the AQ Khan multi-level networking system. Besides, as we have seen with Iran, it takes a lot of effort to turn uranium into fissile material — but they could have used it as the basis for “dirty bomb” attacks.