Hugo Chávez Says Associates Had Ties To Colombian Rebels

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Photo by Que Comunismo.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Photo by Que Comunismo.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Photo by Que Comunismo.

Today in Latin America

Top Story — Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said Sunday some politicians associated with him have maintained ties with Colombian leftist guerrillas, though he did not name anyone specifically.

Speaking at a May Day rally, Chávez said some radical politicians who support his government met with Colombian rebels in order to help them establish bases in Venezuelan territory. Chávez said he asked the unnamed politicians to desist, saying it would provoke the United States.

“They don’t realize it’s the perfect excuse for imperialism to attack the people of Venezuela,” he said.

Chávez’s comments are the latest development in the story of diffusing tensions between Chávez’s government and that of neighboring Colombia.

Former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe accused Chávez several times of harboring FARC rebels, based partly on evidence Uribe said the Colombian government recovered from a FARC computer. Chávez denied the allegations and disputed the authenticity of the evidence.

The conflict grew to such a point that the countries recalled their ambassadors in 2009 and Venezuela began substituting imports from Colombia.

Uribe’s successor Juan Manuel Santos — who worked as Uribe’s defense minister — has smoothed out relations. The two met shortly after Santos took office to reestablish diplomatic relations.

Santos also said last month that Chávez had made good on his promise not to harbor rebels on Venezuelan territory — a comment that prompted Uribe to renew his allegations against Chávez in the Colombian press and on Twitter.

“Terrorist hideout: where are the narco Farc leaders: Ivan Marquez, Romaña, Grannobles, Tomochenko…..?” Uribe said in one of a series of tweets on April 12.

Last week, Chávez extradited an alleged collaborator with the FARC, Joaquín Pérez Becerra, despite criticism from Venezuela’s far left. Pérez Becerra, a Swedish citizen, is the editor of Anncol.

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