The Associated Press
May 15, 2008
Highlights from 43 computer files shown to The Associated Press that detail close ties between Venezuela and Colombia's main guerrilla group, known as the FARC. The files came from computers seized during a raid on a rebel camp, and Interpol said Thursday that Colombia did not alter them. Venezuela denies arming or funding the FARC.
--CHAVEZ MONEY: Venezuela appears to have been preparing to lend the rebels at least US$250 million (euro190 million). Seven documents dating back to January 2007 refer initially to that amount and later to ''300.'' The most recent, from Feb. 8, also talks about possibly obtaining ``a quota of oil to sell abroad, which would give us a juicy profit.''
--BAZOOKAS: In a January 2007 message, the rebels' main go-between with the Chavez government, Ivan Marquez, says Venezuelan military intelligence chief Gen. Hugo Carvajal and another Venezuelan general ''are going to get us 20 bazookas next week.'' Colombia says that refers to rocket-propelled grenade launchers. A Venezuelan Defense Ministry spokeswoman did not return calls seeking comment from Carvajal.
--ROCKETS: Rebel commander Timochenko writes in March 2007 that ''intelligence officials from our neighboring navy'' are prepared to help the FARC obtain parts to build ''rockets'' and to send a rebel to the Middle East to learn how to handle them. Colombia believes the word ''rockets'' refers to surface-to-air missiles.
--TRAINING AND SANCTUARY: In early 2006, Timochenko describes FARC facilities in Venezuela including a firing range, grenade-making shop and ''installations for hospitals.'' He says rebels have patrolled in Venezuelan military uniforms and flown reconnaissance in Venezuelan military helicopters. (An Associated Press investigation early this year found that Venezuela provided medical care, weapons and sanctuary to top FARC commanders.)
--CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS: A November 2007 letter discusses two meetings with Chavez, and says ''Relations with the army are very close ... We have friendship and good empathy with at least five generals.'' It also refers to ''our bunker'' inside Fuerte Tiuna, Venezuela's equivalent of the Pentagon.