“We do not house guerrillas, nor do we have a pact with guerrillas,” said Venezuelan Congressman Hayden Pirela.
Pirela was responding to a 26 page indictment by Spanish judge Eloy Velasco, who alleges that a suspected member of Basque separatist group ETA, Arturo Cubillas Fontan, has served numerous high-level roles within the Venezuelan government of President Hugo Chavez, and acted as a link between the ETA, the FARC, and Venezuela.
Velasco charged seven members of the FARC and six members of ETA with terrorism, conspiracy to commit murder, and numerous other offenses.
Pirela said he considered the indictment to be “part of a campaign to discredit Venezuela”. So far no-one from the Venezuelan executive has replied to the accusations. Chavez is in Uruguay to attend the inauguration of new President Jose Mujica.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe said that Colombia must react to the accusations “prudently” and deal with the Spanish judge’s indictment “through diplomatic channels.” Uribe is also in Uruguay for the presidential inauguration.
Uribe said Colombia Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez will contact Colombian Ambassador in Spain Carlos Rodado to “follow up” the matter.
The Spanish court’s pronouncement comes as Colombia and Venezuela express desires to repair their severed diplomatic relations.
Following a shouting match with Uribe at a summit in Mexico last week, Chavez said he wanted Venezuela to normalize relations with Colombia and invited his Colombian counterpart Uribe to “sit down and talk like gentlemen.”
Diplomatic relations between Colombia and Venezuela were frozen after Colombia signed an agreement last year with the U.S. that allows the Americans to use Colombian military bases and civilian airports for counternarcotics and counterterrorism missions.
Chavez believes the agreement undermines sovereignty in the region, and is its most outspoken opponent.
The border region has long been a source of tension between the countries, as Venezuela accuses Colombia of allowing right-wing paramilitary fighters to enter Venezuelan territory, while Colombia says the border is often crossed by left-wing guerrillas seeking refuge in the neighboring country.