Colombia’s Defense Minister Gabriel Silva on Thursday demanded that Venezuela indict, find and extradite fifteen FARC leaders Colombia says are currently seeking refuge in Venezuelan territory.
Colombian authorities have long claimed that several of the FARC’s most prominent leaders are hiding in neighboring countries Venezuela and Ecuador, but until now have never demanded so explicitly that action be taken.
“We again ask the Venezuelan government that they do us the favor, that they obey international law; they can not pretend the truth is not obvious. International law obliges [a country] to proceed to arrest, extradite and deport terrorists on its territory,” Silva said.
Silva did not go as far as saying that the Venezuelan government is aiding the guerrillas, something of which Colombian authorities have previously accused the leftist government of Hugo Chavez.
The defense minister refused to say which fifteen FARC leaders are currently on Venezuelan soil, except for one, Ivan Marquez, who is suspected of being the guerrillas’ “foreign minister.”
“We know that Marquez is in Venezuela and is announcing he has agents in several countries in Latin America and Europe,” Silva stressed.
The relation between Venezuela and Colombia has been fragile for years. Colombia regularly accuses Venezuela of harboring and aiding the leftist FARC, while Venezuela accuses Colombia of exporting paramilitary fighters to Venezuela to undermine its government.