Colombian press reveal some of the messages recovered from deceased FARC leader Raul Reyes’ computer, which implicate two former Panamanian presidents in forming informal non-aggression pacts and ties with the guerrilla group.
According to a report from El Nuevo Heraldo on Tuesday, between 2000 and 2008, 34 messages allegedly found on Reyes’ computer reveal “feverish activity” of FARC guerrillas seeking refuge in Panama and protection of their assets.
One recovered email allegedly shows evidence that former Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso planned to meet directly with FARC leaders.
“The president of Panama says that she can receive us in the first days of September. The message was delivered through the head of security of the Panamanian government, who… offered guaranties for our visit to their country,” slain FARC leader Raul Reyes allegedly wrote to the FARC’s supreme leader at the time, Manuel Marulanda Velez, alias “Tirofijo.”
The alleged meeting between the FARC and former President Moscoso reportedly never came to fruition, but a delegation of the FARC did have meetings with one of the president’s advisers and the “chief of security for Panama,” the report states.
One unidentified FARC guerrilla allegedly told Reyes in a message that he had attended a meeting in Panama without any security concerns. “The government does not oppose to the guerrilla presence on the border,” El Nuevo Heraldo claims the message read.
The report implicating former Panamanian Presidents Mireya Moscoso (1999 – 2004) and Martin Torrijos (2004 – 2009) for ties to the FARC was swiftly denied by the two former presidents.
“Both the government of Colombia and President Alvaro Uribe are aware that we [Panama] maintained continuous and assiduous cooperation on security and the fight against organized crime,” Moscoso insisted.
Torrijos, for his part, denied “absolutely” that his government collaborated with Colombian terrorist group the FARC.
According to a Sunday report from Panamanian newspaper La Prensa, the governments of Panamanian Presidents Mireya Moscoso (1999 – 2004) and Martin Torrijos (2004 – 2009) were in talks with Colombian guerrilla group the FARC to avoid violence spilling over the border.
On Monday, Panamanian public security minister Jose Raul Mulino confirmed the report, stating that the FARC had a presence on their side of the border, and that Panamanian police in the past had orders to avoid the guerrillas.
The report comes several days after Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli stated that the former governments had a “friendly deal” with drug traffickers and guerrillas, but that under his government this has ended.
The emails implicating the former Panamanian presidents come from the computer of former FARC leader Raul Reyes, who was killed in an air-strike carried out by the Colombian military in Ecuadorean territory. Colombia used the alleged evidence recovered from the computers seized in the Ecuadorean FARC camp to implicate the governments of Venezuela and Ecuador of having illicit ties to the FARC guerrilla group.
Colombia, however, has refused to hand over the computer hard drives to Ecuadorean authorities to verify the claims, stating that they are still needed by Colombian prosecutors.