Monday, March 3, 2008

Accusations launched over FARC commander’s death

Tensions have grown in several south American states over this Saturday’s death of a senior Colombian guerilla. Raul Reyes- a FARC commander and point person for hostage negotiations- was killed during a military operation near the Colombia-Ecuador border. Since then, a diplomatic row has developed between Colombia and Ecuador along with the involvement of Venezuela:

Venezuela - President Hugo Chavez warned of “the beginning of a war” as he ordered the pull out of that country’s ambassador in Bogota as well as a military buildup along the border with Colombia. Chavez also railed against the U.S. and called his Colombian counterpart a "paramilitary leading a terrorist state.”

Ecuador – Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa made orders similar to those done by Chavez and added that Colombia broke international law by illegally entering Ecuadorian territory during the bombings that killed Reyes.

Colombia - The director of Colombia's national police alleged that information taken from Reyes’ laptops indicate links between the FARC and Ecuador's government. One of the documents claimed that Reyes had “direct contact” with Security Minister Gustavo Larrea.

Spokesman for other governments in the Americas have shown their concern over the anxious situation between Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. Even Fidel Castro has publicized his views over the fray by blaming “the Yankee empire” for its role in the affair.

Update #1: According to Mexico's El Universal, Ecuador's Defense Minister claimed that a "21-year-old Mexican woman" was one of the guerillas injured during the attack that killed Reyes.

Update #2: Colombia's police director dropped a bombshell this afternoon by claiming that the Venezuelan government sent over $300 million in funds to the FARC. (Link via Monsters & Critics).

Sources (English) - International Herald Tribune, Bloomberg, AFP, CNN, IOL

Sources (Spanish) – RCN, El Tiempo

Image - BBC News (“Venezuela ordered the deployment of 10 battalions")

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