Someone please tell the Burschen at Der Spiegel that their story was kaputt long before it came out. They’re recycling a piece of pure horseshit under the laughable title of “The Colombian Connection: How Hugo Chavez Courted FARC”:
They called him “Angel.” He was the highest-ranking outside contact for the Colombian guerilla organization FARC. More and more details are now emerging that demonstrate the close relationship between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the jungle terrorists.
He already had a photo of himself posing with Vietnamese general and revolutionary hero Vo Nguyen Giap, and he also planned to suggest to Cuban leader Fidel Castro that he don his combat uniform once again for a joint photo, “Angel” told FARC commander Ivan Marquez. All that was missing in his collection, he said, was a photo with “J.E.”
“Angel” was FARC’s code name for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and “J.E.” was Manuel Marulanda, a.k.a. “Tirofijo” (“Sure Shot”), the legendary leader of Latin America’s oldest guerilla organization.
What a shame. Such a provocative lede, and already we know it’s all wrong. How? Oh, here. Let Greg Palast school you on how not to read shit into an e-mail:
While you can read it all in español, here is, in translation, the one and only mention of the alleged $300 million from Chavez:
"… With relation to the 300, which from now on we will call “dossier,” efforts are now going forward at the instructions of the boss to the cojo [slang term for ‘cripple’], which I will explain in a separate note. Let’s call the boss Ángel, and the cripple Ernesto."
Got that? Where is Hugo? Where’s 300 million? And 300 what? Indeed, in context, the note is all about the hostage exchange with the FARC that Chavez was working on at the time (December 23, 2007) at the request of the Colombian government.
Indeed, the entire remainder of the email is all about the mechanism of the hostage exchange. Here’s the next line:
"To receive the three freed ones, Chavez proposes three options: Plan A. Do it to via of a ‘humanitarian caravan’; one that will involve Venezuela, France, the Vatican[?], Switzerland, European Union, democrats [civil society], Argentina, Red Cross, etc."
As to the 300, I must note that the FARC’s previous prisoner exchange involved 300 prisoners. Is that what the ‘300’ refers to? ¿Quien sabe? Unlike Uribe, Bush and the US press, I won’t guess or make up a phastasmogoric story about Chavez mailing checks to the jungle.
To bolster their case, the Colombians claim, with no evidence whatsoever, that the mysterious "Angel" is the code name for Chavez. But in the memo, Chavez goes by the code name … Chavez.
Whoever “Angel” may be, one thing is certain: He’s not Chavez. It is kind of funny that Chavez would be referred to by both his real name and a pseudonym in the same document, no?
I would tear apart the rest of the article, but what’s the point? It’s already blown itself to shit by making an opening assumption that is patently untrue. If the lede is wrong, you have no story.