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Monday, March 10, 2008

Colombia retreats as Correa and Chavez stand firm by

Bush and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez denounced the Colombian state as a “terrorist state”, and said it had become “the Israel of Latin America”, following the Colombian military’s bombing of Ecuadorian territory on March 1 that killed up to 21 members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Chavez argued the US government was behind Colombia’s actions.

The illegal assault, which violated Ecuador’s sovereignty and was described by Chavez as a “cowardly murder”, came just days after Venezuela led a mission that received the unilateral handover of four prisoners held by the FARC. Venezuela and Ecuador both expelled their respective Colombian ambassadors and moved troops to the Colombian border as defensive measures. Chavez declared that if Colombia launched such an assault within Venezuela, it would be considered an act of war. Colombia responded by claiming to have found documents on a laptop that survived the bombing of the FARC camp that prove that both the Ecuadorian and Venezuelan governments are supporting the FARC (to the tune of US$300 million in the case of Chavez).

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe even threatened to take Chavez to the International Criminal Court at the Hague for “sponsoring genocide”, according to a March 6 Reuters report. A March 6 Venezuelanalysis.com article reported that left-wing Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa “strengthened his political alliance” with the Chavez government during his trip to Caracas the previous day.

Correa strongly condemned the Colombian government, declaring: “Ecuador has been bombarded by an aggressive, warmongering government [whose] lies pull them down …” Correa and Chavez signed documents to have Venezuela import food from Ecuador that it previously imported from Colombia, with which Venezuela cut commercial ties.


Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega also announced the cutting of diplomatic ties with Colombia, according to Venezuelanlaysis.com, “in solidarity with the Ecuadorian people”.

Venezuelanalysis.com reported on March 5 that an emergency gathering of the Organization of American States had passed a motion opposing Colombia’s violation of international law and Ecuadorian sovereignty. US President George Bush, however, publicly backed Colombia’s actions and accused Chavez of “provocative maneuvers”, according a March 4 Reuters report.

The US military would neitherconfirm or deny allegations it was involved in the attack. Increasingly isolated over its assault, Colombia has been forced to beat a retreat. Reuters reported on March 8 that by the end of the OAS summit, a formal ending of the dispute appeared to have been negotiated, with Uribe shaking hands for the camera with Correa and Chavez — two men only days before he had accused of active collaboration with the FARC and, in the case of Chavez, threatened to charge with war crimes.


According to a March 8 BBC News report, Correa declared: “With the commitment of never attacking a brother country again and by asking forgiveness, we can consider this very serious incident resolved.” Part of the problem for Colombia, and its US backers, is the blatantly dodgy nature of the evidence supposedly found on the laptop supposedly rescued from the bombed FARC camp inside Ecuador.

Colombia claimed to have retrieved documents that reveal close links with the FARC by the Correa and Chavez governments. Colombia even claimed to have found a document providing evidence that the FARC had purchased 50kg of uranium with which to make a “dirty bomb”. BoRev.net, which is dedicated to covering the anti-Venezuela bias in the Western media, responded by labelling the computer alleged to have been found the “Miracle Laptop”.

The laptop not only somehow survived the cluster bombing, it also happened to contain ready made documents allegedly proving previously unfounded allegations against Venezuela by Colombian and US officials — both miraculous events. The FARC leadership appear to have spoken of extremely damaging highly sensitive information without recourse to code.


It is also impossible — short of divine intervention — to make a dirty bomb unless the uranium is enriched, and Colombia has stopped short of alleging the FARC have a nuclear reactor hidden in the jungle. Even the US government baulked at the dirty bomb claim, suggesting instead that perhaps the FARC aimed to simply sell the uranium for a profit. Most ludicrous of all was the attempt by Uribe, who leads a country with one of the world’s worst human rights records and has personal ties to death squads, to use these questionable documents as the basis for his threat to take Chavez to the Hague.

The threat was widely-reported without question by the corporate media, which appears to operate on the principle of guilty until declared innocent by the US State Department. Colombia may be in retreat internationally, however it appears determined to continue escalating its war internally. US imperialism can also be guaranteed to continue finding ways to seek to destablise Latin America.

From: International News, Green Left Weekly issue #743 12 March 2008.

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