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The Danger of War in Andean America

correachavezuribe.jpgThe escalating tension between Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela is as incredible as it is dangerous. The shaky international community cannot allow an armed conflict to break out in the Andes region, or even a new focal point of tension in the American continent. Rhetoric can turn into drama, states the author.

(From Madrid) THE COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT, Álvaro Uribe has decided to not send his army to the Venezuelan and Ecuadorian borders. Nonetheless, Hugo Chávez has ordered ten battalions to mobilize, while Ecuador has sent 3,200 soldiers to the Colombian border region. It is still unknown whether the Ecuadorian president will complete his planned tour of several American countries.

The Colombian government’s elimination of the FARC’s spokesperson, who hidden in Ecuadorian territory, demonstrates the very dangerous foreign meddling that is objectively reinforcing the rebel group, and was going to allow it to obtain political revenue from the image of the imminent liberation of the kidnapped Ingrid Betancourt [1].

Sound confidential information, probably coming from the United States, allowed the Colombian security forces to prevent this, while they were also able to eliminate its most dangerous enemy and confiscate very accusatory information against the neighboring countries of Ecuador and Venezuela.

SPONSORSHIP AND FINANCING OF GENOCIDES

“The Colombian vice president assures that the Colombian FARC guerrillas would be dealing in radioactive material in order to create bombs of destruction and terrorism” President Uribe announced that his country will bring his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chávez before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for sponsorship and financing of genocides. According to the Director of Colombian Police, General Oscár Naranjo, a message sent to Reyes on February 14 by the chief insurgent Iván Márquez (who publicly met with Chávez in Caracas this past November) points out Venezuela’s 300 million dollar financing of FARC.

We do not need them to give us pats on the shoulder as a way of offering us their condolences for our dead men while they give refuge to the Colombian executioners, said a hurt, yet firm, Uribe.

The Colombian FARC guerrillas would be dealing in radioactive material in order to create dirty bombs of destruction and terrorism, the Colombian vice president, Francisco Santos Calderón [2], also declared in Geneva. “Kouchner: the death of Reyes is not good news, given that he was the man with whom we were talking and remaining in contact in order to engineer the release of Ingrid Betancourt” Santos Calderón let these accusations fly at the UN Disarmament Conference, citing the results obtained by investigating the laptop of Raúl Reyes, FARC’s number two man, who was shot dead by the Colombian army’s operation in Ecuador.

This information, which is being subjected to a strict and rigorous process of verification with international help, indicates that with the economic funds that narcotrafficking provides them, the terrorist groups constitute a very grave threat to not only our country, but to the whole Andean and Latin American region, added Santos. The Colombian vice president demanded full application of the Organization of American States [3] (OAS) Convention against the manufacturing and the illegal trafficking of arms, ammunitions, and explosives, just like the UN Security Council’s Resolution 1540 in 2004, which dealt with the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

ACTIONS AND REACTIONS

Ecuador broke diplomatic relations with Colombia, and Venezuela expelled the Colombian ambassador (along with all of his office’s personnel) from Caracas in a new and unsettling turn in this regional crisis that has been building up steam for months. The bubble finally burst after Colombian soldiers killed Reyes and 21 other guerrillas two kilometers into Ecuadorian territory, where they were camped out under what appeared to be absolute impunity.

Aside from this, the Colombian government has decided to bring their neighbors before the UN and the Organization of American States (OAS) for harboring terrorists and violating international rules. The Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, summoned a special council of the organization to analyze the crisis. Brazil is criticizing Colombia, while the United States is giving its full support to Uribe’s country.

The French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bernard Kouchner, stated on his part that the death of Reyes is not good news, given that the FARC’s number two man was the man with whom we were talking and remaining in contact in order to engineer the release of Ingrid Betancourt.

BOGOTÁ ACCUSES

“The Director of the Colombian Police claims to have proof that Chávez delivered 300 million dollars to the guerrilla” Colombia offered an apology to Ecuador after the events in which one of the heads of the guerrilla was shot dead in a camp set up on Ecuadorian soil. But once the Ecuadorian president labeled the attack as the most serious verified act of aggression on his country, Bogotá went on the offensive. General Naranjo has made it known that he is in possession of documents confiscated from Raul Reyes that prove the existence of links between FARC and Correa.

In the laptop of the deceased, there is a message from the Ecuadorian Minister of Security, Gustavo Larrea, who, speaking on behalf of President Correa, says that he is interested in making the relationship with FARC official and committed to relieving from their duty the soldiers and police stationed in the Ecuadorian regions where FARC is. “Correa: It is not possible to maintain relations with a government that so impetuously abuses the decency, truth and sovereignty of friendly states”

Furthermore, he offers to help in the humanitarian exchange of those kidnapped by FARC in return for guerrilla prisoners.

Naranja declares that the laptop has also provided him with proof that Chávez delivered 300 million dollars to the guerrilla. In addition, among the documents found was information concerning FARC’s purchase of 50 kilos of uranium and 700 kilos of cocaine for 1.5 million dollars. All this, according to General Naranjo, allows us to be sure that an international conspiracy to overthrow Uribe’s government was planned, with the conformation of a great revolutionary army. He pointed directly at Nicaragua, Venezuela and Ecuador as being a part of this conspiracy.

THE CHIAROSCURO OF THE LARREA-REYES MEETING

Hours later, the Ecuadorian minister Larrea admitted that he had seen Reyes in January in a third country to discuss the liberation of FARC’s hostages. “It is surprising that Correa has taken on this quite belligerent role together with the increasingly unsettling and irresponsible Venezuelan president” But the president of Ecuador, Rafeal Correa, had previously labeled his Colombian counterpart a psychopath and a cynic. What was Uribe’s government hoping to do by eliminating FARC’s spokesperson, Raúl Reyes, in Ecuadorian territory, and then telling tall tales? Is the objective to perhaps destabilize a government that has refused to participate in the Colombian Plan, and set up a puppet government in Ecuador? These are extremely serious accusations that, according to Correa, make it impossible to maintain relations with a government that so impetuously abuses the decency, truth and sovereignty of friendly states.

But the Colombian government says that it is not true that the intention of the meeting between the Ecuadorian government and FARC was to negotiate the release of those kidnapped, especially Ingrid Betancourt. What’s more, it highlights the fact that the Colombian government was unaware of those contacts in spite of the fact that Correa always assured Uribe that it would not move forward with any strategy for managing FARC without prior knowledge and authorization of the Colombian government. “FARC began as a group of Castro-like revolutionaries; today it is a rural mafia dedicated to extortion, the kidnapping of innocent civilians and drug trafficking”

The agreement that they would be negotiating with FARC, according to Colombia, would be an agreement with political ends. It would include joint decisions on behalf of the region’s military commanders to carry out proselytistic activities in Ecuador. What the documents reveal is that they actually show the characteristics of the trafficking of kidnapped civilians for political ends.

It is surprising that Correa, who upon winning the elections made the wise decision of opting to practice foreign discretion and distance himself from the Chávez-Morales axis, has taken on this quite belligerent role together with the increasingly unsettling and irresponsible Venezuelan president.

THE INTERESTS AND BIG QUESTIONS SURROUNDING A REGIONAL UPRISING

Chávez, with his contacts and negotiations with a group that threatens the government of his neighboring country, has played a special role in the aggravation of the situation. “The presidents of Venezuela and Ecuador should explain what the exact nature of their relationship with FARC is, and respect the principle of not interfering in the domestic affairs of another country” Chávez wants to use the border incident between Colombia and Ecuador to destabilize Washington-allied Colombia, the principal obstacle standing in the way of his Amazonian hegemony project, aside from concealing his growing domestic problems in a big wave of jingoistic demagogy. His contacts with FARC truly constitute a meddling in the domestic affairs of another country. Reyes’ laptop has become a factory of lies, the Venezuelan Chancellor Nicolás Maduro indicated.

FARC began as a group of Castro-like revolutionaries but, according to the majority of unbiased outsiders, it is today a rural mafia dedicated to extortion, the kidnapping of innocent civilians and drug trafficking. For years, the organization has held hundreds of people in captivity, subjecting them conditions equivalent to the worst torture.

“The former Cuban president accuses the United States of have committed a monstrous crime in Ecuador It would be necessary to know if the documents in the hands of the Colombian police are authentic. The Colombian president should be more explicit in his justifications and apologies for his troops’ intervention in foreign territory. The presidents of Venezuela and Ecuador should explain what the exact nature of their relationship with FARC is, and respect the principle of not interfering in the domestic affairs of another country. Correa has to explain what FARC’s number two man was doing in Ecuador, set up in a stable and permanent camp. Had Ecuador given these men the right to asylum? And had they armed them to the teeth and provided them with field uniforms?

France’s presence in the mess adds to the concern of a possible internationalization of what was, up to yesterday, a Colombian civil conflict. Someone is trying to organize an authentic regional uprising in the United States’ former backyard. Unfortunately, it appears like things are going to continue to build up.

FIDEL CASTRO: CORREA, LIKE ÉMILE ZOLA

The internationalization of the incident, and the mobilization in favor of FARC by the broad anti-imperialist front that has been catching on in Ibero-America since last year, is receiving new support in view of the Colombian accusations against Nicaragua and the position that Mr. Fidel Castro immediately took. “Sooner or later, the continent’s only armed subversive group, FARC, had to become the vanguard operative of the new anti-imperialist offensive”

The former Cuban president accused the United States of have committed a monstrous crime in Ecuador, in an article disclosed by official means, in which he assures that Yankee bombs, guided by Yankee satellites killed 21 Colombian guerrillas members there. In the dawn, deadly bombs were thrown at a group of men and women who, almost without exception, were all sleeping. This has been deduced from all of the official reports broadcast since from the very beginning. The concrete accusations against this group of human beings do not justify the action.

Absolutely no one (he continues) has the right to kill in cold blood. If we accept this imperial method of war and savagery, Yankee bombs directed by satellites can land on any group of Latin American men and women, in the territory of any country, whether or not there be a war. Remaining silent would make us accomplices. Today they want to sit our friend, the economist and president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, upon the bench of the accused. Castro notes that Correa has the few survivors and the rest of the corpses in his hands. The two that are missing demonstrate that Ecuador’s territory was occupied by troops that crossed the border. He can now exclaim, like Émile Zola, “I accuse [4]!”

A SHOCK WAVE THAT COULD BE SEEN COMING

This is the ex-Cuban president’s second consecutive article dedicated to the crisis that has led Ecuador and Venezuela to break relations with Colombia and deploy troops to their borders. In the note, Castro warned that war trumpets are being forcefully blown in South America as a consequence of the Yankee Empire’s genocidal plans. Nothing is new! This was foreseen! he said in the first of his Reflections articles dedicated to this crisis.

Effectively, everything indicates that the outbreak of the Colombian crisis is a shockwave that without doubt was going to be produced. Sooner or later, the continent’s only armed subversive group, FARC, had to become the vanguard operative of the new anti-imperialist offensive, an old-fashioned and unviable poor imitation of the past.

Castro maintains his leadership as a volatile caudillo. In Venezuela, Chávez has become Castro’s most outstanding pupil. With the flood of cash that oil brings, populist followers and indigenists of a new chapter in the Latin-American revolution sprout up like fungi. This is a true disgrace for the continent.

(This article was written before the 20th Rio Group Summit meeting in Santo Domingo)