I have a terrible confession to make: After Colombia’s bombing attack on Ecuador in March 2008, I had this indelible impression of El Narco, Alvaro Uribe, as a nasty little hot-headed shit who had no respect for national boundaries, and who was recklessly willing to go to war against his own neighbors. This report from La Radio del Sur doesn’t exactly do much to dispel that impression:
Former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe admitted on Monday that during his term in office (2002-2010), he had intentions of perpetrating a military operation in Venezuela, supposedly against guerrilla encampments, but he didn’t do it “for lack of time”.
During a speech in the Autonomous Latin American University in Medellín, the former president recalled that due to denunciations of a supposed presence of insurgents in Venezuela, he had thought of a military strike against the neighboring country.
“We obtained evidence of guerrilla camps in Venezuela. We had three options. Denounce them, stay quiet, or the third option, to stage a military operation in Venezuela. I didn’t have enough time,” said Uribe.
Uribe also said that he told the president-elect, Juan Manuel Santos, about the appearance of these new “proofs” of guerrilla encampments in Venezuela, but he did not say whether or not Santos supported intervention.
“Santos knew of the presence of FARC rebel camps in Venezuela,” Uribe commented.
Following the denunciations of Uribe over the presence of insurgents in the neighboring country in 2010, the government of Venezuela countered that this was not proven, and broke off diplomatic relations with Colombia, considering the allegation to be defamatory.
Just days after the government of Juan Manuel Santos took office, Colombia and Venezuela re-established bilateral relations.
This Monday, the current president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, assured that his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chávez, ordered the mobilization of two army brigades against FARC insurgents, who allegedly killed twelve Colombian soldiers along the border.
In a speech from the Bogotá military airport of El Dorado, Santos asserted that Chávez had reassured him that he would not tolerate the presence of guerrillas in Venezuelan territory, and that he would continue to advocate for the security and defence of the entire region.
Astute readers of this blog will note that about two years elapsed between the bombing of Ecuador over a FARC encampment on its soil, and El Narco’s stated intention of bombing Venezuela for similar reasons. Personally, I think it’s all a crock, this “no time” excuse. He had two whole years to bomb Venezuela; he was probably planning to do it around the same time as he bombed Ecuador. The disgrace of broken relations with not one, but TWO crucial neighbors was what stopped him, not the so-called lack of time. (Remember, Rafael Correa got pretty righteously indignant over this violation of national sovereignty, too. And Chavecito backed him up, as did most of South America. There was even a chant that was popular at the time: “Uribe, gonorrhea/The people are with Correa!” I’m told it was also a big thing in Colombia, of all places.)
Recall, too, that one of Chavecito’s first postings, as a young Venezuelan army officer, was to the Colombian border region, where his job was to hold off guerrilla incursions from you-know-where. He actually saw people murdered during that time, humble Venezuelan peasant farmers who had nothing to do with any insurgency, but who got caught in the crossfire between the Colombian army and the rebels. So he’s not exactly eager to harbor the FARC on his turf, however much ideological sympathy he might hold.
And if El Narco had had the common courtesy to ASK that Rodrigo Granda be handed over, rather than just sending Colombian agents in to stage a kidnapping raid, Chavecito might well have co-operated, and there wouldn’t have been a diplomatic rupture then, either.
But nooooooo, El Narco had no respect for Venezuelan sovereignty. He never had any, and he still has none. As is quite obvious in his very telling silence about the other side of the sordid equation, namely Colombian paramilitary mercenaries on Venezuelan soil, working as hired assassins for the Venezuelan opposition. They always seem to get more active when there’s an election in the offing.
And as luck would have it, there’s another one coming up in October — a presidential one, no less! And guess who’s leading by a wide margin in the polls. Psychic Swami Binananda predicts that we’ll be hearing a lot more frothings from El Narco about an alleged FARC presence (unproven, of course) in Venezuela, and an equally loud silence about his own AUC compadres and their illicit presence in that same country.