A comprehensive new study of the files found on “Raul Reyes”‘ computer has detailed the intricate relationship between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the FARC, as well as implicating Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa’s complicity in seeking FARC funding, reported various media sources.
The book, named “The FARC Files: Venezuela, Ecuador and the Secret Archive of ‘Raul Reyes’,” was published Tuesday in London by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), following an extensive examination of material made available by the Colombian authorities.
Although Chavez has long been accused of FARC links, the latest revelations suggest that he actively supported them financially and at one point “promised the group $300 million,” Caracol Radio reported.
Even if this appears to have been an unfulfilled promise, there are said to have been numerous “smaller transfers of money,” contributing to Chavez’s intention to “keep Colombian military strength in the region tied down in counter-insurgency.”
The study does not paint a picture of complete harmony in the relationship between Chavez and the FARC, as he would often betray them at times when it suited his political gain, such as one particular incident whereby the Venezuelan army permitted the FARC’s use of a train, before ambushing them and capturing eight guerrillas to present to Uribe as he met with Chavez in 2002.
Nevertheless, the Venezuelan government is alleged to have asked the rebels to assassinate political opponents in Venezuela, as well as to train urban militia groups and serve as a shadow militia for the country’s intelligence apparatus, reported the New York Times.
The analysis notes how with Chavez’s various calls for the FARC “to abandon armed struggle…he did so only to deflect international pressure,” which is just one element of the oscillating Chavez-FARC relationship that led the IISS to cast doubt on how “durable” the recent rapprochement between Colombia and Venezuela can really be.
Ecuador, another neighboring country who are presently improving relations with Colombia, are also implicated in the book. Having broken relations with Colombia following the 2008 raid into their territory that delivered the very same FARC computers, ties were only restored with Colombia in November 2010.
Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe already accused Chavez and Correa of having ties to the FARC after analysis of data allegedly found on the computers of the slain FARC commander.
These accusations were supported last month by WikiLeaks cables that indicated that Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa’s 2006 campaign was funded by the FARC, prompting an investigation into the campaign by the prosecutor general in Ecuador.
Although Correa was only indirectly implicated at the time, the analysis of Raul Reyes’ computers has led the IISS to conclude that he “personally requested and illegally accepted illegal funds from the FARC” in 2006, even if in Ecuador the guerrillas never received a “comparable state of support” as in Venezuela.
The veracity and authenticity of the Raul Reyes computer files has often been contested in both Venezuela and Ecuador, even though Interpol dismissed the possibility of them being fabrications and several governments have successfully used the information gleaned from the files as a base for various operations.