The FARCing Dangerous Borders of Venezuela
A few days in the glorious isolation of rural Canada and I missed a couple rather important stories. This one, expertly recapitulated by Alvaro Vargas Llosa, a senior fellow at the Independent Institute, and the Wall Street Journal's Mary O'Grady, provides further evidence that the regime of thug Hugo Chavez is harboring FARC terrorists on Venezuelan territory. Vargas Llosa provides background:
Uribe's ambassador to the Organization of American States presented photos, videos, satellite maps and testimonies as evidence that 1,500 guerrillas enjoy protection in 14 camps along the Venezuelan border with Colombia. Ivan Marquez, a member of the FARC's high command, is based there.
Venezuela's complicity with FARC is no scoop. In December 2004, Colombia used bounty hunters to capture FARC's international spokesman, Rodrigo Granda, in Venezuela. In March 2008, Colombia took out a FARC camp headed by Raul Reyes two kilometers inside Ecuador, a Chavez ally. A video posted by a Spanish journalist on YouTube shows the guerrillas in La Gabarra, a village in the Guasdualito area inside Venezuela's Apure region. Not suspecting the hidden microphone, a military boss from a nearby Venezuelan base admits he is aware of them.
But this time the evidence is overwhelming. Chavez has reacted, in the words of former Colombian Vice President Humberto de la Calle, like a husband who comes home at 3 a.m. with lipstick on his face and, when confronted by his wife, walks out furiously, slamming the door. Caracas has broken ties with Colombia, which does not alter the status quo since ties were frozen a year ago. For the umpteenth time, Chavez has announced preparations for a war he does not intend to wage, that his army would swiftly lose, and that he knows Colombia is too prudent to join.
In saner times, Chavez would not survive this exposure. But positioning himself outside of international law has never cost him much. He knows he is in violation of U.N. antiterrorism resolution 1373. But he also knows that the OAS is a dysfunctional organization headed by Jose Miguel Insulza, a man intimidated by Chavez's government; that the United States will not attack Venezuela; that Brazil is too ideologically sympathetic with Chavez and interested in a sphere of influence that counterbalances the U.S.; and that he controls his army sufficiently to pre-empt any rebellion.
And the consistently great O'Grady covers much the same territory here, pointing out that "The pro-Chávez crowd is now feigning concern about war. But if Venezuela is giving the FARC safe haven, it is already engaged in aggression against its neighbor."