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Venezuela "55 Colombian paramilitary arrested in Caracas!"

By Daniel Duquenal

Sunday 9, May 2004 - Breaking news? TV this morning woke us up with the arrest of 55 Colombian paramilitary in a farm in the South area of Caracas, somewhere between EL Hatillo and Baruta, the farm belonging to a dissident military from the Plaza Altamira. Supposedly they were part of a larger group hired in Colombia from reservist from the Colombian Army, and they were being trained for some major "terrorist" assault somewhere in Caracas.

Now, let me start by saying that yes, some of the dissidents from Plaza Altamira might be crazed enough to try such a dumb scheme.

Now, right off the bat, there are a few things that are not quite right.

55 paramilitary in Caracas? All with their shaved heads like fresh recruits? In military fatigues? And a few dozens of them were able to escape through the mountain? So in an urban farm setting they were hiding perhaps a hundred paramilitary Colombians since who knows when? Osama should be that skilful!

Second, the seizure was rather fast and bloodless. Well, let's accept that.

Third, and the most worrisome. Only the state TV, VTV was on premises. The news were transmitted by Globovision just because they did retransmit the VTV signal. No other independent media had information or where called on site (Union Radio, for example). However already the state radio and Aporrea had long posts on the story. Gee, suddenly they are faster and more effective than Globovision.

But the best part was the interview of one of the "paramilitary". He spoke with an incredibly thick Colombian accent, not a forced one but definitely thick enough so as not to have a doubt as from his origins. He spoke as if nothing to the single VTV journalist, with a background of Venezuelan security agents that looked rather bored considering that they had just saved their country from a terrorists attack. Ah! And the paramilitary was covered with a black headgear as in high mountain activities. He claimed that he could not reveal himself because he would jeopardize his family in Colombia. Huh!? And the Venezuelan security forces will let a terrorist speak to VTV barely an hour after being caught and allow him confidentiality? Without a lawyer, without being in a security jail, just like that in open air?

Last but not least, quickly the VTV journalist was asking such things as "Will the responsibility of the Baruta Town Hall police be investigated? How come the local police was not aware of 150 paramilitary?". Quite a lead, isn't it? And I must congratulate the VTV journalist for his amazing calm and composture considering the situation. And for all the hard questions that he was asking. I wish they would question like that some of the public officials in Venezuela.

I am not too sure how this story is going to develop but this observer is allowing himself to wonder aloud on a few weird things.

Note added in proof: The interview of the Venezuelan security division (DISIP), Rodriguez Torres, was priceless. Already he announced that all the military dissidents will be treated from now on as subversives. I am sure that some are anyway, but it was rather fast a declaration. He, of course, went on wondering how come the local Baruta police had not detected such a large group. I have a question for the DISIP head. The installations of the farm were rather small for 100+ paramilitary being trained. Considering the slope of the terrain and that it looked more like a week end retreat than a farm, where were the 100 paramilitary beign housed and trained? Does he think that other networks are not going to try to film the area A.S.A.P.?

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