Update: No FARC Leader in Venezuela

Looks like a false alarm. The man hospitalized in Rubia is not FARC leader Joaquín Gómez. The other story, that Colombia was closing in on another secret FARC leader Alfonso Cano is also unknown, although there are also reports that he was wounded in a helicopter attack on February 21.

Venezuela and Colombia collaborated carefully to bring the matter to a close. This is a positive sign. Also, something (perhaps the heavy guard around the patient) sparked these rumors. Something odd is up and is probably worth keeping an eye on.

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15 Responses

  1. Aaron, this is the analysis sent by Chavez’ top lobbyst in D.C., Segundo Mercaro-Llorens to the Venezuelan embassy and Miraflores presidential palace. Segundo has since resigned from his Chavez gig and is now focused on stopping Colombia FTA … he is from PR.

    GWEH

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    There is no question that Uribe emerges as the winner in the first
    phase of AndesGate. Before the “left” roundly boos me (an anti-Uribe
    lobbyist) here are a few reasons why Uribe can reasonably be thought
    to be the winner:

    First, Colombia violated the sovereignty of another Latin American
    country, and in return it received a mild “slap on the wrist” by the
    OAS. The failure of the OAS to condemn, what was, on the surface,
    essentially a Latin American version of Bush’s “doctrine of
    pre-emption” is a victory for Colombia. The actual resolution that
    passed the OAS was quite mild indeed. It was mild because no
    international tribunal was going to condemn Colombia, once Colombia
    made public documents which purported to show support for an
    anti-government insurgency by Venezuela and Ecuador. The OAS
    resolution, in effect, was a statement by other Latin American
    governments that while Colombia was indeed in tecnical violation of
    international law, the OAS was not prepared to condemn one party,
    while others may also have come to that body with “unclean hands.”
    Support for the FARC is itself a violation of Colombian sovereignty,
    and an “act of war.” Once the documents were revealed the OAS was not
    about to embrace either Venezuela and Ecuador by condemning Colombia.

    Second, It was obvious that Colombia decided to launch an incursion
    into Ecuador, and take the temporary “hit”, guessing that the military
    gains would outweigh the diplomatic losses. It guessed correctly

    Third, Word from the OAS is that Venezuela was basically told by
    other countries to “stay out” of the debate, so that it could be
    conducted as an Ecuador vs. Colombia matter. This is not exactly a
    diplomatic vote of confidence for Venezuela.

    Fourth, While Uribe sustained a mild rebuke by the OAS, he is now able
    to advance on a much larger field using the captured Reyes documents
    as a kind of water torture against Venezuela and Ecuador, leaking
    parts “drop by drop” to have a continuing public relations assault on
    Venezuela or Ecuador. Needless to say, victory for Colombia here
    depends on Interpol’s declaring the documents authentic. If the
    documents are not “authentic” then Colombia will lose beyond measure.
    But, if the documents are declared “authentic” then the gains by
    Colombia will depend on what is revealed in the documents. If
    “authentic” then Venezuela, and Ecuador have a lot to worry about.

    Fifth, Colombia is able to open up a new front in its fight for the
    Colombia Free Trade Agreement, one that could conceivably result in
    Colombia/Bush scaring up enough votes to pass the Colombia FTA. It
    won’t be easy for Colombia, but it now has a slim chance, whereas
    before it had no chance of passing the FTA. As well, it should be
    noted that every rhetorical assault by Chavez against Uribe, only
    helps the chances of passage for Colombia’s FTA. At this point, that
    FTA’s biggest advantage is Chavez’s lack of any semblance of
    rhetorical discipline; conversely, that FTA’s biggest disadvantage is
    Uribe’s hubris, and his government’s clear ties to the right-wing
    paramilitary.

    Finally, Colombia’s gains can only be multiplied by the material
    discovered in the Reyes documents, assuming the documents are
    authentic. If I were Venezuela and Ecuador, I would hardly be in a
    position, as a result of this crisis, to dance in the streets
    declaring victory. After all, Chavez’s rhetorical support of the
    FARC, combined with whatever is found in the Reyes documents stands to
    place Chavez in the public mind as a champion of a highly unpopular
    guerrilla movement, known more for its drug dealing, than for its
    ideological acuity. This can hardly be considered a favorable outcome
    for Chavez.

    As they say in tennis, “Advantage, Uribe.”

  2. Thanks, this is important stuff and I’ll post on it fully later.

    Watch for the white-shoe lawyers and slick PR spin-masters who, when hired, can really disassemble the FARC docs. Unless Chavez got stupid – this will happen.

  3. Miami Herald also had access to the original files but did nothing … the environment was not right in 2002 to start making accusations but in the case of the Miami Herald, they were chickenshits who did not know how to proceed with the info.

  4. Just wanted to mention that it is interesting that your profile of MidEast terror groups did not include the MKO which is a powerful US-backed Islamo-Socialist terrorist organization with its own press office in Wachington D.C. that the US uses against Iran and who are currently under US protection in camp Ashraf Iraq.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People's_Mujahedin_of_Iran

  5. Thanks for the many great comments.

    Quick note – MEK are strange and nasty. Not including them in my book was an oversight. I don’t follow them carefully (except to steer clear of any organization associated with them) because I simply have to conserve my time.

  6. No solamente que lo sabian , sino que versiones de pobladores del pueblo confirmaron a inteligencia que fue un helicoptero del ejercito de Venezuela el que traslado a los guerrilleros desde el sitio donde los habian herido. En combate, con una columna de los paramilitares o el ejercito Colombiano

  7. Now that it looks like there are two FARCistas in Chavez’s custody let’s see what he does.

    House Resolutions do not carry any legal weight – their importance is symbolic. I think the U.S. should play the terrorism list game very carefully because (not that I doubt Chavez’s complicity) it may be counterproductive.

    But a little good cop/bad cop might be effective with the list as well.

    I’ve seen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen speak and thought she was really impressive. But all politics is local.

    I don’t read Justin Raimondo – he gives me heartburn.

  8. aaron, here is the latest semi-official English language version of Posada:

    http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news/3291

    it fails to mention the first trial which lasted 8 years and saw him acquitted. He was sprung out of prison before the second (double jeopardy) trial with knoweledge and permission of Bush Sr and the US ambasador Reich. Notice that they fail to mention first trial and acquittal.

    Then they accuse him of 40 more murders … that is new.

    The fact is that Hugo Chavez is just as guilty as Posada. Chavez will never escape international criminal courts for Human Rights violations which have no statue-of-limitations starting with his orders to military snipers on April 11, 2002 to fire and kill unarmed civilians marching on the presidential palace.

    The facts and names of those responsible are well known.

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