Hugo and the FARC

An old friend has called my attention to Interpol desacredita a Colombia en el caso del computador de Raúl Reyes (“INTERPOL discredits Colombia in the case of Raúl Reyes' computer”). I'd seen most of this (except the signatures on the letter). Yes, it seems that Uribe and his policemen are manipulating info to make the Chávez-Farc connection look worse than it probably is. Meanwhile, Chávez lets himself be photographed embracing Farc leaders and makes speeches calling for respect for the Farc as "interlocutores válidos". I don't know what truth there is in claims that the Venezuelan military gives sanctuary to Farc, but probably some truth -- if not from the top command, at more local levels. In isolated army or Guardia Nacional posts, there will be commanders either sympathetic to Farc or susceptible to bribes, or both, and it's pretty clear that Farc units move regularly across the borders into Venezuela and Ecuador. Some of the testimony in this report in Spain's El País from last December sounds more than plausible: El narcosantuario de las FARC.

I just learned (from a speech by Chávez) that there is a Venezuelan guerrilla group in the border area calling itself "Frente de Liberación Bolivariano" claiming to support Chávez -- he has disowned them.

Anyway, its a chaotic frontier, where bands of armed men and a few women make up their own rules while obeying no central authority. And some of those bands are no doubt in the pay of outside organizations who want to exploit the area's resources, including private, state and mixed enterprises looking for oil, pharmaceuticals, and other riches. Just like in José Eustasio Rivera's famous novel, La vorágine (1924, when the coveted resource was rubber).

Photo: Iván Márquez del Secretariado de las Farc y el presidente Hugo Chávez, durante la reunión que sostuvieron en Caracas como parte del proceso en búsqueda de un acuerdo humanitario con el grupo guerrillero. (November 2007. Source: La Tarde)

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