An investigation into the surveillance activities of Colombian security agency DAS has revealed that Ecuador’s former army commander and ambassador to Venezuela, Rene Vargas Pazzos, was listed as a “political target,” reported El Espectador on Tuesday.
The now 76-year-old was spied upon at least twenty times throughout his career for a variety of reasons, including plans by the Colombian government to form military alliances with its neighboring nation, and the general’s suspected plans to introduce Venezuelan-style policies to Ecuador.
According to the investigation, DAS kept the official under close surveillance in order to ascertain whether Colombian President Alvaro Uribe’s government, as well as the U.S. government, would be able enlist the help of the Ecuadorean army in combating violent conflict in Colombia.
The Ecuadorean official was recorded criticizing plans to increased military presence on the country’s border with Colombia, as well as voicing his concerns over Colombia’s construction of a military base in Manta that would be used by the U.S. army.
In addition, Vargas Pazzos was kept under surveillance due to his “close” relationship with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, which reportedly developed during his time as Ecuador’s ambassador to the socialist nation.
In DAS’s files from 2005 the former army commander is listed as a “political target” for his supposed commitment “to promoting a social and political movement in order to build a Bolivarian Republic of Ecuador that is part of the Latin American regional power bloc.”
The findings form part of an ongoing investigation into the scandal-hit Colombian agency, which has revealed the body’s illegal wiretapping and surveillance of a number of the country’s judges, journalists, opposition politicians, and trade-unionists.
This is the first international case to be raised in the investigation of DAS’s activities.