The documents were discovered by the Colombian army in a raid on FARC guerillas just across the border in Ecuador in March 2007, on a laptop belonging to FARC deputy commander Raul Reyes, who was killed in the melee.
In his new rhetorical offensive against Alvaro Uribe, Chávez tries to present the Colombian president as an isolated politician who no longer enjoys any meaningful international support. Much to Chávez’s delight, his position has been bolstered by the Democratic leadership in the U.S. Congress, which slapped Uribe in the face by scuttling the long‐planned free‐trade agreement with Colombia.
On his weekly TV show Aló Presidente last Sunday, Chávez noted that the Uribe government has poor relations with its neighbors and with the Americans, “since they even rejected the FTA.”
Despite House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s assurances to the contrary, this decision is a serious setback to President Uribe’s efforts to consolidate a liberal democracy in Colombia.
Having Uribe right next door has always been a thorn in Chávez’s side. The relationship between the two leaders turned bitter last November over a failed mediation effort by the Venezuelan president to release dozens of hostages that the Colombian guerrilla groups have retained for more than five years. Both leaders exchanged recriminations, with Chávez branding Uribe “a sad pawn of the empire.”
The Colombian raid on the Ecuadorian side of the border last March made things even worse. Venezuela had become a safe haven for the FARC and other terrorist groups, and is rumored to have cultivated contacts with Hezbollah, the Iranian‐backed terrorist organization that killed almost 300 U.S. Marines in Beirut in 1983.