Chilean Interior Minister Rodrigo Hintzpeter expressed the government’s concern about cooperation between Chile’s Communist Party (PC) and Colombian guerrilla group the FARC, following the arrest of party member Manuel Francisco Olate, reports EFE.
Olate, alias “Roque,” was arrested Friday and is accused by Colombia’s prosecutor general of being a link between the PC and the FARC, and providing financial support to the Colombian guerrilla outfit.
Information found on the computers of deceased guerrilla leader “Raul Reyes,” who was killed in a 2008 raid, allegedly indicates that Roque cooperated with the FARC and visited Reyes’ camp in 2003.
“I worry that [Chilean] politicians have ties to obvious terrorist organizations such as the FARC,” Hintzpeter said.
The minister said that Chile did not face the same problems with terrorism as Colombia, and that the Chilean government must ensure that the conflict does not reach the southern Andean nation.
PC Secretary General Lautaro Carmona has stated in the past that his party has a “political relationship with the FARC,” but flatly denied any link to the person described as “Roque” by the Colombian authorities.
PC Chairman Guillermo Teillier defended Olate saying that the allegations were a “put-up job by Colombian intelligence.”
“This is a media tactic of the intelligence services of the Colombian government, mostly linked to the government of former President Alvaro Uribe; a government absolutely repressive of human rights in that country,“ he said.
Colombia requested the extradition of Olate, but Chile’s Supreme Court minister ruled that Roque should remain in Chilean custody for two months while Colombia gathers more evidence and the legalities of extradition are discussed.
The two countries have an extradition treaty, but nationals cannot be extradited for political reasons. Roque is a Chilean national residing in Chile, which could give the nation the right to try him in domestic courts.