Leading daily El Tiempo and leading weekly Semana both featured articles based on newly leaked emails that were allegedly seized from computers belonging to “Raul Reyes,” a high FARC commander who was killed in March 2008 when the Colombian army bombed his camp over the border with Ecuador.
The revelations come a week after Chavez swore in Henry Rangel, who since 2008 has been accused by the U.S. of having FARC ties and was put on the so-called kingpin list of persons or companies who can not do business with American companies because of their involvement in the drug trade.
According to the latest claims, Rangel was the “central axis of the Chavez-FARC connection” and a “good friend” of Timochenko.
The two got to know eachother in 2005 after an incident in which FARC guerrillas killed five Venezuelan soldiers and met at least on four occasions between 2006 and 2008 when the computers were found, Semana and El Tiempo said.
The Venezuelan official maintained his relations with the Colombian rebels also after the 2008 tensions caused by the first revelations of the alleged emails, the New York Times reported in 2009.
According to the newly leaked emails, all but the first encounters between Rangel and Timochenko were authorized by Chavez and became increasingly friendly.
In a March 13, 2006 email, Timochenko reportedly wrote Reyes that the FARC was free to enter Venezuelan territory, but “when it is necessary to cross [the border] to do it without being seen and with caution” as “the gringos have him (Chavez) besieged on all sides.”
“Chavez gave the instruction in front of me to at the border create resting and care areas,” FARC commander Ivan Marquez reportedly wrote on November 12, 2007 after an official meeting with Chavez and Colombian opposition politician Piedad Cordoba about the release of hostages held by the guerrilla group.
“On our way out we talked a bit with general Rangel Silva, boss of [now-defunct secret police agency] DISIP, good friend of Timo[chenko] who he wants to visit after December 2.”
Neither El Tiempo nor Semana revealed who leaked the communication. The newly leaked emails were not mentioned in “The FARC Files,” a May 2011 publication about the ties between the FARC and the Venezuelan government based on Reyes’ emails by London-based think-tank International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Venezuela has always claimed the Reyes files were altered for political purposes.