Posted by: Paula Delgado-Kling | May 17, 2011

FARC-Venezuela: serious questions must be answered

Venezuelan officials have asked the FARC to provide urban guerrilla training to pro-government cells and to assassinate political opponents of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. According to documents found in the computer files of diseased FARC commander Raul Reyes, the FARC was asked to act as a shadow militia for the intelligence unit of the Chavez government. The FARC were asked to train paramilitary groups, which included the Bolivarian Circles of Freddy Bernal, and the groups of Barrio 23 de Enero and the Venezuelan Communist Party.

The documents are part of a 240-page book, “The FARC Files: Venezuela, Ecuador and the Secret Archive of Raul Reyes,” which was published last Tuesday by the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. The book points to a long history of collaboration between the FARC and Chavez officials, including meetings between the president and the FARC’s Raul Reyes in Venezuela in September 2000. According to a letter, dated November 2000,  which Reyes wrote to the FARC’s ultimate chief, Manuel Marulanda, Chavez is a FARC admirer, and promised Reyes support to hurt the Colombian government and so help the FARC take power. The offer included PR to help the FARC gain international recognition.

The letter also stated Chavez’s offer to buy arms for the FARC—through his “good relationship” with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Chavez said they did not need to pay for them right away, but in “five years or so.” … “Once we are in power, we can pay them back,” Reyes wrote.

Moreover, Chavez wished to speak face-to-face with Marulanda and offered to have him picked up near the border and brought to Venezuela or Cuba. Marulanda died in 2008 of natural causes.

In the past, Chávez has acknowledged that some of his political allies collaborated with the FARC—but, Chavez insisted, they “went behind all our backs.” Although in 2008, Interpol dismissed the possibility that the archive, which includes documents going back to the early 1980s, had been doctored, the Chavez government contends the files are a fabrication.

The fact remains: The spread of the Bolivarian Revolution has been a policy of the Chavez government and providing the FARC with logistical, political, and territorial support is just one more instrument of that policy. There has never been a need to fabricate files. One needs only to listen—I mean, really listen—to Aló, Presidente, Chavez’s weekly radio show.

And the question remains: Why has Chavez not been made to answer for these serious charges?


  1. That is a question that Colombians need to ask their presidents, past and present.

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