Sunday, March 09, 2008

Bush, Colombia & Narco-Politics

By Andres Calas
March 9, 2008 (Originally published Aug. 8, 2007)

These new allegations about Colombia’s narco-politics have tarnished Uribe’s reputation just as Bush has been showcasing the Harvard- and Oxford-educated politician as a paragon of democratic values and an alternative to the firebrand Chávez, who has used Venezuela’s oil wealth to finance social programs for the poor across the region.

Read on.


El Cid said...

Is the Washington Post's Jackson Diehl taking liberties with the transcripts of the captured (allegedly) FARC laptops?

'The first e-mail, dated Feb. 8, discusses the money: It says that Chávez, whom they call "angel," "has the first 50 [million] available and has a plan to get us the remaining 200 in the course of the year." Chávez proposed sending the first "packet" of money "through the black market in order to avoid problems." He said more could be arranged by giving the FARC a quota of petroleum to sell abroad or gasoline to retail in Colombia or Venezuela.'

In the original documents, which you can read in the Colombian magazine Semana, there is a section in which it mentions that talks have been going on with Venezuela (which is unsurprising, as Venezuela, Ecuador, France and others have been undergoing hostage-release negotiations), and this is what the transcripts say:

From Semana, section "Negotiations with Venezuela":

'Ya tiene disponibles los primeros 50 y tiene un cronograma para completarnos 200 en el transcurso del año.'

In English, "The first 50 are already available, and we have a timetable to complete 200 over the course of a year."

That's it.

In the original, there is no explanation, context, nor follow-up explaining the quantities (is it 50? 50,000? 50 million? 50 billion) nor of what the quantities refer to (dollars? barrels of fuel oil? files? cellphone minutes?).

Is Diehl allowed to simply make up without evidence what these documents mean?

Does he have secret evidence which clarified the messages but which he is not revealing?

I'm not a simple Chavez partisan. It's possible he has aided the FARC. But it would be particularly stupid to have simply sent them hundreds of millions of dollars, when in the same messages the FARC seems to be discussing drug deals in the same range.

(I also posted some of this to Glenn Greenwald's blog, but these are huge, huge charges worthy of public airing.)

randy said...

Why would Hugo Chavez need to be "codenamed" "angel" in some parts of the document when he is identified by his real name in other parts?