BOGOTA – Colombian Defense Minister Gabriel Silva said Saturday that if some of Venezuela’s political leaders fear a military attack like the one that killed No. 2 FARC leader Raul Reyes in Ecuador, they are admitting that the rebel group has camps on Venezuelan soil.
“Some political leaders in Venezuela say they fear an operation like Operation Phoenix in Venezuela,” which simply means “they are admitting the existence of (FARC) camps in Venezuela. If not, they wouldn’t have that fear,” Silva told reporters.
The minister also repeated Colombian complaints that certain leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, are established in that country.
Silva believes that guerrilla chief Luciano Marin Arango, alias “Ivan Marquez,” “has taken refuge in Venezuela and is announcing that he has terrorist agents and political agents of terrorism in several countries.”
On several occasions the Colombian government, at times through President Alvaro Uribe himself, has complained that several FARC leaders and even one of the National Liberation Army, or ELN, are in Venezuela.
For its part, Venezuela has often repeated that there are no FARC commanders on its territory.
Colombian media have given wide coverage to a report prepared by a commission that investigated the Colombian army’s bombing of a FARC camp in which Raul Reyes died in 2008.
Several Ecuadorian media, taking the report as a reference, warn that a FARC leader, Luciano Marin, alias “Ivan Marquez,” has an office in Caracas where he operates an organization related to that rebel group.
According to those stories, “the CCB (Bolivarian Continental Coordinating Committee) has always operated from the office of Ivan Marquez in Caracas” and that group is a suspected “political arm of the FARC.”