Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Obama and the FARC in Colombia

I've already seen some misinformation about this on the web, so I think it's important to get the facts clear. On Saturday, the Colombian government killed Raúl Reyes the #2 leader of the FARC guerrilla camp at a remote jungle camp just over the border in Ecuador. At the site, they found a laptop. The laptop held a number of communications between members of the FARC. The documents are here. The documents make clear that there have been extensive contacts between the FARC and the governments of Venezuela and Ecuador.

One of the documents is a message dated February 28, 2008 from Reyes to the FARC high command (the Secretariado.) The message describes a recent conversation with an emissary of Ecuador's President Correa. Here is the last paragraph of the message:

Los gringos, pidieron cita con el ministro para solicitarle nos comunicara su interés en conversar varios temas. Dicen que el nuevo presidente de su país será Obama y que ellos están interesados en sus compatriotas. Obama no apoyará plan Colombia ni firma del TLC. Aquí respondimos que nos interesan las relaciones con todos los gobiernos en igualdad de condiciones y que en el caso de Estados Unidos, se requiere de un pronunciamiento público expresando su interés en conversar con las FARC dada su eterna guerra contra nosotros.
My translation:
The gringos asked for an appointment with the minister to request that he communicate to us their interest in discussing several topics. They say that the new president of their country will be Obama and that they are interested in their countrymen. Obama will not support either Plan Colombia or the free trade agreement [with Colombia.] We have responded that we are interested in relations with any government under the same conditions, and in the case of the United States, this would require a public statement expressing interest in talking with the FARC, given their eternal war against us.
The "countrymen" are clearly the three American hostages held by the FARC. From another message on the laptop, it is evident that the "minister" is Gustavo Larrea, Ecuador's Security Minister. It is unclear who the "gringos" are exactly. In December, three Democratic congressmen sent a letter to the FARC regarding the hostages. (Here is a Dec. 21 AP article regarding the letter.) It is possible that Reyes is referring to this letter of some other communication with the congressmen.

It seems odd that the American emissaries would make a prediction about the election outcome, but this is Reyes' version of what he was told by the Larrea, and it may not accurately reflect what the "gringos" said. Also, while the message accurately notes that Obama has announced his opposition to the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement, he is not opposed to Plan Colombia.

In any case, the message does not express the FARC's evaluation or preferences in the U.S. election, but rather what Reyes was told by the Ecuadorean Minister of Security.


ModVo said...

you misunderstood my statement. I was saying that Chavez is actively supporting the FARC, not Obama. While this is not empirical certainty, the captured documents strongly imply direct links between Chavez and FARC. My criticism of Obama is that he still wants to have a chat with Chavez despite his continuing efforts to destabilize much of Latin America.

Anonymous said...

The "gringos" actually are Mr. Jones (and others) who was contacting the FARC on behalf of Congressman McGovern.