Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez said he would not tolerate Colombian
leftists or drug gangs setting up shop on his side of the border. As a token of
his determination, he had a major drug gang leader arrested and deported to
Colombia. But lower ranking Venezuelan
officials are still making deals with FARC and drug gangs, because these
outfits are still found on both sides of the border. Corruption in Venezuela is
worse than in Colombia. Most of the violence on the Venezuelan side of the border
is against Colombian intelligence agents trying to get information on drug
gangs and leftist rebel in the area. Venezuela wants to avoid any open
hostilities with Colombia, which has a much better trained, and combat
experienced, military force.
June 9, 2007:
While FARC is insisting on a "free zone" in return for the
release of 60 celebrity hostages, the government is finding that the majority
of Colombians oppose the swap because most of FARC members to be released are
responsible for killing thousands of Colombians. This angers many voters, who
have never had an opportunity to strike back at these murderers, and definitely
don't want to see people who ordered many killings and kidnappings, to go free.
This, more than the reluctance to provide another "free zone," may
kill any swap deal. FARC is desperate to get the free zone, otherwise many of
its fighters will have to flee to a neighboring country, or surrender.
June 8, 2007:
Syrian arms dealer Monzer al Kassar has been arrested in Spain, when the
U.S. presented evidence that Kassar was negotiating with FARC to provide large
quantities of weapons. The Kassar organization has been providing weapons,
legally and illegally, to rebel and terrorist organizations since the 1970s.
Kassar has behaved himself in Spain, but apparently misjudged how badly FARC
communications had been penetrated by American intelligence.