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Hugo Chavez continues to foster terrorism

Editorial by Aleksander Boyd

A couple of days ago and article published in "El Nacional" exposed the views of Gen. Efraín Vásquez Velazco about the situation with bordering Colombia. Disagreeing with the president and government officials' statistics, Gen Vásquez Velazco denied the existence of a 20.000 strong Venezuelan force in the frontier. Furthermore, he said "we have never had 20.000 men there; we have had at the most 6.000". His declarations came as no surprise for international analysts whom are convinced that the Venezuelan state is not only offering a haven of tranquillity for guerrilla groups running away from the eventual attack of the Colombia army, Chavez's government is also engaged in protecting and supporting them whilst they are in Venezuelan territory.

One of the main leaders of the FARC had surgery in a clinic located in Venezuelan Tachira state near the border only two weeks ago. According to local sources, the Governor of the state using funds of a lottery company named Kino Tachira paid the bill. Gen. Vásquez Velazco whilst in charge of the frontier's garrison, reported all sorts of irregularities to army chief Lucas Rincon and former Minister of Defence Jose Vicente Rangel. On the occasion of the launch of the US & Colombia joint operation "Plan Colombia", he passed documents to Gen. Lucas Rincon relating guerrilla cells using Venezuelan territory (Sierra de Perija) to escape attacks from para-military groups and Colombian army. These reports were treated as diplomatic matters by the Venezuelan admin rather than as military issues and the president ordered no further action.

Military intelligence has reported to the central government the creation of a para-military group called "Frente Bolivariano de Liberacion" (Bolivarian Liberation Front). This group is operating in Venezuelan territory with the leniency of the army. Arguably, they are engaged in extortion and kidnappings in areas near the border, providing detailed information to the guerrillas about wealthy individuals to be targeted for extortion. Vcrisis sources report an individual by the name of Orlando Mancilla acting as the leader and liaison agent between the Bolivarian Front and the guerrillas in Buena Vista and Alto Grande. Inhabitants of these areas feel completely hopeless for they have informed such actions to the local authorities and the army with no results. Colombian groups are moving so freely in Venezuelan territory that cases of extortion and kidnaps have been reported in the central states of Aragua, Guarico, Cojedes only three hour drive from Caracas.

The funds for the maintenance and operation of the troops in the border have been misused in the implementation of the "Plan Republica", which constitutes one of the most resounding cases of corruption and misappropriation that Hugo Chavez's regime has had. The president is not interested in the slightest in eradicating the ever-increasing presence of the Colombian guerrilla in Venezuela. He would not refer to them as terrorists, although he rapidly brands his political opponents as such.



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