WSJ on Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela

March 29, 2003

<A href=",,SB104863555461196300-search,00.html?collection=wsjie/30day&vql_string=venezuela(article-body)”>Interesting article by The Wall Street Journal on guerillas cutting accross the border to Venezuela. (I believe it needs subscription to read it). Among the highlights:

“Colombian guerrillas operate at least two training camps in Venezuela and use the country as a launching pad for cross-border attacks”

“The documents offer no evidence that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez himself ….In June 2000, Jesus Urdaneta, a former comrade-in-arms who had broken with Mr. Chavez, said that when he, Mr. Urdaneta, headed the Venezuelan state security force, Mr. Chavez had suggested backing the Colombian guerrillas with weapons”

“Venezuela’s foreign minister, Roy Chadderton, dismisses the drumbeat of accusations that have accompanied Mr. Chavez’s tenure as just so much speculation in the media. “We don’t see proof or evidence,” he says. He adds that “malicious” accusations are the work of Mr. Chavez’s political foes”

“Victor (also not his real name), who was a bodyguard for a top FARC commander until their December capture, says he was present when his boss worked out a deal with a local Venezuelan National Guard lieutenant allowing guerrillas to travel unmolested on the Venezuelan side of the Arauca River”

“It was the carnage of the Cucuta bomb that caused Colombia’s frustration with Venezuela to boil into the open. “We know [the guerrillas] have fooled the people and government of Venezuela ,” said Colombia’s president, Alvaro Uribe, after the blast. “They disguise themselves as good citizens”

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