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WSJ: FARC and Venezuela even closer than thought

By See-Dubya  •  May 10, 2008 07:50 AM

I overlooked this article in the WSJ about ties between Chavez and FARC, thinking that the WSJ’s editorial page had already hashed this out months ago. But it turns out there’s a whole lot of worthwhile stuff. Especially this: the WSJ’s news staff has examined hundreds more of the documents found on the laptops of a dead FARC leader, and finds that Venezuela and narcoterrorists go together like pisco and sour:

The files that have been made public so far have largely confirmed Mr. Chávez’s well-known sympathy for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. But a review by The Wall Street Journal of more than 100 new files from the computers suggests that Venezuela has broader and deeper ties to the FARC than previously known.

These documents indicate Venezuela appears to be making concrete offers to help arm the rebels, possibly with rocket-propelled grenades and ground-to-air missiles. The files suggest that Venezuela offered the FARC the use of one of its ports to receive arms shipments, and that Venezuela raised the prospect of drawing up a joint security plan with the FARC and sought basic training in guerrilla-warfare techniques.

Interestingly, it’s the FARC terrorists who are training Venezuela’s commandos in unconventional warfare, in order to prepare them for that U.S. invasion Chavez knows is coming any day now.

Another point worth noting: though Venezuela and FARC continue to call the info fake, the WSJ has gone to some effort to confirm the accuracy of the data on the laptops. The U.S. intel community seems convinced it’s for real, and in several instances it’s been corroborated (e.g. finding FARC money stashed where the files said it would be). And it’s not just a few people in the Venezuelan government driving this cooperation; it goes clear to the top:

The documents suggest Mr. Chávez is personally involved in helping the guerrillas. In a September 2007 message to the FARC’s ruling body, a commander wrote: “Chávez is studying our documents and has said that just like Fidel [Castro] has decided to delegate his other responsibilities to concentrate on the Venezuelan situation, he [Chávez] is ready to do the same to dedicate more time to Colombia.”

I’ll refer you to the link for speculation on what happens if we designate Venezuela a state sponsor of terrorism (hint: we’ll pine for the good ol’ days of four-dollar-a-gallon gas), but I have to ask: does anyone care about this in regard to the trade agreement with our allies in Colombia that Nancy has tried to scuttle?

Answering my own question, yes: Here’s Mitch McConnell, righteously peeved at Queen Nancy’s stubbornness:

He seems equal parts appalled and amazed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is holding up the Colombian free trade agreement. “Talk about a no-brainer. Colombian goods come into the United States now virtually duty-free. The only country, from an economic point of view, that benefits from the Colombian free trade agreement is the United States of America, which has not had the same kind of access to Colombia.”

There are strategic issues involved, as well. Mr. McConnell says that Colombia is “our strongest ally in South America, right next door to Hugo Chávez. Democrats are always saying, ‘You don’t have any friends in the world. Nobody respects us anymore.’ Well, here’s a guy (Colombian President Alvaro Uribe) just south of us who does respect us, who’s very pro-American, who’s standing up to Hugo Chávez and what do we want to do? Give him the back of our hand?”

Well, one fifth of it, apparently.

If you’re wondering why I’m exercised about this Colombia thing, here’s why.


{Post by See-Dubya}

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