The Minister, Gabriel Silva, said that he had reason to believe three of the five ELN bosses and at least one FARC chief were currently conducting activities and seeking refuge in the Venezuelan jungle.
Amid the diplomatic crisis taking place between Colombia and Venezuela, Silva announced that “the frontier line has turned into an unbreachable wall for justice,” in a report by newspaper El Espectador.
The Minister said “the problem is not the utilization [by illegal groups] of territory” in another country, but the “will to fight them”. Colombia has accused Venezuela of not putting effort into combating guerrillas.
Silva added that the FARC boss believed to be leading the guerrilla movement’s eastern front from Venezuela was Ivan Marquez.
In an interview with Caracol Radio, Silva emphasized that if the Colombian government were to discover the exact whereabouts of these subversive groups, they would under no circumstances conduct an operation similar to that made against the camp of FARC leader ‘Raul Reyes’ in March 2008 (which resulted in the costly rupture of diplomatic relations with Ecuador).
Silva stated that instead, President Alvaro Uribe has given the order that “all necessary allegations” be raised at international level in order to deal with any future cases regarding guerrilla activities in Colombia’s neighbouring countries.
The minister defended Colombia’s security achievements, claiming that in 2002 there were some 30,000 FARC members, whereas today the number is less than 10,000, with their control centres located outside Colombia’s borders.