BOGOTA – The International Police (Interpol) issued Saturday a red bulletin for the arrest in any country of the rebel known by the alias of “Pablito,” one of the leaders of the National Liberation Army, or ELN, who is believed to have fled to Venezuela after escaping from a jail in the border town of Arauca.
The red bulletin was issued against Carlos Marin Guarin, or “Pablito,” a member of the ELN Central Command, who is wanted by the Colombian Attorney General’s Office for crimes of “homicide for terrorist purposes together with escaping to commit crime,” the DAS intelligence agency said in a communique.
“Last Oct. 7, the day that Pablito escaped from the Arauca jail, Colombian authorities asked Interpol to publish an orange bulletin as an international alert about the escape of a dangerous prisoner,” the DAS intelligence agency said.
With the publication of the red bulletin against the guerrilla chief by the General Secretariat of Interpol, the authorities will be able to carry out his capture internationally.
Colombia’s Defense Minister Gabriel Silva said Saturday that there is a great contrast between Colombia’s current relations with Ecuador and with Venezuela, and that investigations are underway to discover whether the Arauca authorities collaborated in the rebel’s escape.
“It’s interesting the contrast that we have seen in the last few days, while ‘alias Pablito’ runs away to find peaceful refuge in Venezuela, we are meeting with the high commands, the top brass and security ministers seeking ways to cooperate, collaborate and combine forces with Ecuador to combat the scourges of terrorism and drug trafficking,” he said.
For several months Venezuela has kept diplomatic and trade relations with Colombia frozen, while Ecuador, which broke off relations with Bogota in March 2008, is now making approaches to reestablish those ties.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe asked Thursday for Venezuela’s help in nabbing Pablito.
“We have to look to the authorities in Venezuela” whose president, Hugo Chavez, has broken off ties with Colombia, “and see how they can help us recapture this individual who crossed the river on the border,” Uribe said during the inauguration of a business fair in Bogota.
The president also said that Pablito’s escape, which transpired Friday, “is inexplicable,” and asked why “such a dangerous terrorist” was recently moved to the Arauca jail and why he was “surrounded by such weak security measures” when he was rescued by a group of hired gunmen.
Carlos Marin Guarin, alias Pablito, was rescued Wednesday near the Arauca jail by three hired gunmen who opened fire on the guards that were watching him, killing one and leaving the other wounded.
The Colombian government has offered a reward of about $850,000 for the capture of Pablito, who was caught on Jan. 6, 2008 in Bogota by army troops.
Pablito is accused in connection with the 1989 assassination of the Catholic archbishop of Arauca, Jesus Emilio Jaramillo, and with some 200 attacks against the Caño Limon-Coveñas pipeline, the most important in Colombia, that carries oil from Arauca province to the northwestern Caribbean coast.
He is also said to have played a role in a cross-border assault 15 years ago that left eight Venezuelan soldiers dead.
Founded in 1964, the ELN has roughly 5,000 fighters, compared with an estimated 9,000 for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
The ELN has engaged in several rounds of talks with the Colombian government, but the discussions foundered on Bogota’s insistence that the rebels demobilize and disarm as a prerequisite for a peace process.