Posted by: Paula Delgado-Kling | May 19, 2011

Tension and loathing between the FARC and Chavez is a gain for Santos

According to conclusions from the book, “The FARC Files: Venezuela, Ecuador and the Secret Archive of ‘Raúl Reyes,’” based on archives found on the computers of the diseased FARC leader, the FARC, of orthodox marxist ideology consider Hugo Chavez ideologically “weak.” Mono Jojoy, the FARC’s military head, once called Chavez a “deceitful and divisive president who lacked the resolve to organize himself politically and militarily.”

The FARC-Chavez relationship is full of mistrust and suspicion. But when is there honor amongst thugs anyway?

There are telling episodes: In November 2002, the book reports, before a meeting between former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and Chavez, the FARC asked the Venezuelan Army for permission to transport uniforms on a mule train through Venezuelan territory. The Venezuelan Army granted permission, then ambushed the convoy, seized eight FARC operatives and delivered them to Colombia, allowing Chávez to inform Uribe of the operation in person. This way, Chavez gained politically.

Last April, the Chavez government detained Joaquín Pérez, a suspected senior operative for the FARC who had been living in Sweden, and deported him to Colombia. This was seen as a response by Chavez that the FARC was operating from Venezuelan soil.

So good relations between the FARC and Chavez are unlikely to last, or even to be steady. This is a gain for Juan Manuel Santos.

The government of Santos has responded to the latest proof of a FARC-Chavez connection by—well, not responding. Santos places greater value on Colombia-Venezuela trade relations. Venezuela is one of Colombia’s top three trading partners.

But until when can Santos’s silence last? Does his silence make him a complice?

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