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March 30, 2008
Look what our friend Hugo has been up to
Hugo Chavez (and many on the left in this country who defend him) has denied in the past that he gives any support to the Colombian FARC rebels.
But computer files captured by the Colombian government from the rebels earlier this month tell a different story as this article in the New York Times suggests:
Files provided by Colombian officials from computers they say were captured in a cross-border raid in Ecuador this month appear to tie Venezuela’s government to efforts to secure arms for Colombia’s largest insurgency. This is liable to ratchet up tensions once again between Colombia and the leftist bloc of Ecuador and Venezuela. Chavez does not like being made to look like a liar and he will no doubt claim that the files were manufactured by the CIA to discredit him.
Officials taking part in Colombia’s investigation of the computers provided The New York Times with copies of more than 20 files, some of which also showed contributions from the rebels to the 2006 campaign of Ecuador’s leftist president, Rafael Correa.
If verified, the files would offer rare insight into the cloak-and-dagger nature of Latin America’s longest-running guerrilla conflict, including what appeared to be the killing of a Colombian government spy with microchips implanted in her body, a crime apparently carried out by the rebels in their jungle redoubt.
The files would also potentially link the governments of Venezuela and Ecuador to the leftist guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which the United States says is a terrorist group and has fought to overthrow Colombia’s government for four decades.
Unmasking Chavez may open the eyes of some Latin American leaders who see the leftist thug as some kind of modern day Simon Bolivar. In reality, he is a banana republic dictator with a big mouth and big wallet. And when oil prices begin their inevitable decline, Chavez will be faced with the problems of a stagnating economy and obligations around the region that he cannot meet.
In the meantime, Colombia has got to get Chavez to halt his interference in the civil war. If they can, it will be a big step toward finally defeating these narco terrorists while reducing the influence of Chavez in the region.