[Marxism] NYT: Chávez Urges Colombian Rebels to End Their Struggle

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sun Jun 8 23:22:43 MDT 2008

June 9, 2008
Chávez Urges Colombian Rebels to End Their Struggle


President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela called on Sunday for Colombia’s largest
guerrilla group to end its four-decade struggle to overthrow Colombia’s
government, a surprising policy shift just months after he called for the
rebels to be recognized as a legitimate insurgent force.

Mr. Chávez’'s comments came a day after Colombian authorities announced the
capture in eastern Colombia of two Venezuelans, including one man identified
as a Venezuelan national guard officer, carrying 40,000 AK-47 assault rifle
cartridges, which the Colombians said were intended for use by the guerrilla
group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Venezuela’'s government has been battling accusations from Colombian
officials in recent weeks that it has tried to provide arms and financing to
the FARC. Venezuela might face economic sanctions if the claims are true,
since the European Union and United States classify the FARC as a terrorist

“You in the FARC should know something,” Mr. Chávez said in the broadcast of
his Sunday television program, during which he also called on the rebels to
release dozens of hostages, including three American military contractors.
“You have become an excuse for the empire to threaten all of us,” he said,
using his term for the United States.

It was not clear whether the FARC would heed Mr. Chávez'’s call or even
respond to it. While Mr. Chávez is admired within the ranks of FARC as an
iconic leftist leader, the FARC is better prepared than any rebel group in
recent Latin American history to soldier on, financing its struggle with
cocaine trafficking and abductions for ransom.

Still, the FARC does seem to be at a turning point. Several senior
commanders in the group have been killed in the past year and Colombian
intelligence operatives have recently infiltrated the group’s top echelons.
Mr. Chávez may have been acknowledging the possible disintegration of the
group when he said in his televised remarks on Sunday, “The guerrilla war is

“At this moment in Latin America, an armed guerrilla movement is out of
place,” he continued.

But the possibility of political isolation may also have influenced his
shift. On Saturday, Venezuela initially rejected Colombia’s claim that one
of the Venezuelans captured with the munitions cache was a military officer,
but Venezuelan officials softened their tone on Sunday, saying they were

     Los Angeles, California
     Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
     "Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"

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