April 02, 2008
CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuela is refusing to recognize documents that Colombia says show President Hugo Chavez planned to provide $300 million to Colombia's largest rebel group.
The Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that it would return to Colombia documents that allegedly show Chavez planned to funnel cash to the rebels.
Venezuela "does not recognize" what it called "a collection of inconsistent and incomprehensible written documents" that were purportedly found on a computer belonging to slain Colombian guerrilla leader Raul Reyes, the ministry said in a statement.
Chavez, who denies plans to fund the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, contends the documents that Colombia sent to Venezuela last week were probably forged.
He says Washington and Bogota are using the documents as part of a smear campaign aimed at convincing world governments that he supports terrorist groups.
Chavez argues the laptop belonging to Reyes could not have survived Colombia's March 1 bombing raid of a FARC camp in Ecuador. The cross-border attack set off a diplomatic crisis as Venezuela and Ecuador briefly mobilized troops and withdrew their ambassadors from Colombia.