At least four armed militias in Venezuela are in close contact with the FARC, Colombia media reported Monday.
According to a report in El Tiempo, Colombian intelligence says it has evidence that the FARC has maintained direct connections with several armed Venezuelan groups since at least 2002. These include groups known as Carapaica Revolutionary Movement, the Tupamaro Popular Resistance Front, the Bolivarian Liberation Forces and the Cuban-Venezuelan Liberation Troops.
Much of this evidence was reportedly taken from the personal laptops of slain FARC leader Raul Reyes. Reyes was killed and his laptops were seized when the Colombian army bombarded a guerrilla camp in Ecuador in 2008.
According to Colombian intelligence, archives and e-mails from the laptops show that these armed groups reportedly exchanged messages with the FARC and discussed undergoing military training with the guerrillas. The intelligence mentioned one man, alias “Simon Leguizamon,” who moved between the Colombian and Venezuelan border maintaining contact between the groups.
Another e-mail from the FARC’s 33rd Front reportedly gave instructions to “people from the Sector 23 de Enero.”
One of the Venezuelan militias, the Carapaica Revolutionary Movement, released a video last January which depicted armed and masked members of the group in Barrio 23 de Enero, a neighborhood in Caracas. In the video the group’s leader, known as Commander Murachi, decried the “pseudo-revolutionaries” in the Venezuelan government.
A U.S. intelligence report estimates that in 2008 there were 40 members of Carapaica.
The international police network, Interpol, examined Reyes’ laptops in May 2008 and said that the Colombian government had not tampered with the contents. Otherwise, the files have not been authenticated independently.