Colombia’s recently-restored relations with Venezuela and Ecuador will not be beset by the fallout from a new report about the two neighbors’ alleged links to the FARC, said Colombia’s foreign minister.
The report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a think-tank focusing on political-military conflict and strategic issues, was released Tuesday following an extensive examination of material seized during the raid into Ecuador that killed leader “Raul Reyes” in 2008.
The dossier documents the turbulent but often collaborative relationship between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the FARC, as well as the claim that Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa “personally requested” FARC funding for his 2006 presidential campaign.
Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin has since spoken to her Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro and agreed to “turn the page” on the past, while she expressed her hope that the report does “not bring noise” that will “damage the path” between the nations, Colombian newspaper El Tiempo reported Wednesday.
Vice President Angelino Garzon said that the Colombian government will not comment on the report because “we do not need to answer about something we have not written.”
He added that “President Santos’ position is strengthen relations between Colombia and Venezuela, Ecuador and all countries.”
Both the Venezuelan and Ecuadorean governments have dismissed the report’s authenticity, with Venezuela citing the controversial “Raul Reyes” files as being too fallible and questionable on which to base a report.
Correa opted instead for an emphatic refusal of the report’s conclusions, firmly stating that “I would never have accepted 20 cents from an organization of that nature.”
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro reiterated Venezuela’s stance on the motives behind the timing and content of the report, saying that “it was launched in London and Washington. Imagine what goal they have. They published it to cause damage to the South. There is no other objective: it is a political objective.”
Colombia only thawed the frozen relations with both countries towards the end of 2010, contributing to a period of collaboration and cooperation that has seen the presidential visits of Colombia’s neighbors, as well as the recent extradition of alleged Venezuelan drug lord Walid Makled to his home country, rather than the U.S.