WikiLeaks cables reveal how the Ecuadorean president’s 2006 election campaign may have been partially funded by Venezuela and the FARC, and that he subsequently rejected Spanish assistance in controlling the border against the guerrilla group.
According to a WikiLeaks cable dated January 21, 2010, Ricardo Patiño, the political director for President Rafael Correa’s first campaign and the current foreign minister, sought and received campaign funds from the FARC and the Venezuelan government.
The cable goes on to explain however that while the sources alleging that Patiño obtained and managed Venezuelan funds are “highly credible,” the reports of FARC funding were at that time “uncorroborated.” The Ecuadorean foreign minister was unavailable for comment yesterday as he was in Venezuela, reports El Universo.
A separate WikiLeaks cable, dated June 24, 2008, further suggests President Correa’s possible FARC sympathies, detailing an ultimately rejected offer by the Spanish government to implement a radar on the Colombia-Ecuador border in order to combat the FARC. An additional aim of the equipment was to “help remove the Ecuadorean excuse that it did not have means to control the border,” according to the Spanish foreign minister’s chief of staff, Javier Sancho.
President Correa defended the rejection of this proposal on Monday, stating that the Spanish conditions for implementation required Ecuadorean coordination and cooperation with the Colombian Armed Forces, adding, “We told them no, that we manage it with [our] sovereignty,” reports El Espectador.
His abhorrence to the idea of collaboration with Colombian forces is perhaps unsurprising given the extremely tenuous relations between the two neighbours in 2008. The proposal came just months after Colombia had launched a successful but unauthorized military operation into Ecuador, resulting in the death of FARC commander “Raul Reyes” and 24 other FARC members.
President Correa has vehemently opposed any notion of ties to the FARC, while the animosity between his country and Colombia has only recently cooled since diplomatic relations were fully restored in November 2010.