MONTEVIDEO – The Venezuelan government on Monday blasted as “unacceptable” a Spanish judge’s assertion that indications exist of Caracas’s cooperation with an ostensible plot by the Basque terrorist group ETA and Colombia’s FARC rebels.
In a statement issued from Montevideo, where Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez attended the inauguration of new Uruguayan head of state Jose Mujica, the Andean nation’s government said the judge’s claims were politically motivated.
Venezuela spoke out hours after Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said his government would seek an explanation from Caracas.
Spanish National Court Judge Eloy Velasco, who is investigating a purported plot to assassinate Colombian officials in Spain, indicted an ETA member and two men from the FARC and said he saw signs that Venezuela cooperated in the ostensible plan.
The alleged ETA member named in Monday’s indictment is Arturo Cubillas, who, according to the Venezuelan statement, is a Spaniard living in the Andean nation since May 1989 pursuant to an accord between the country’s erstwhile president, Carlos Andres Perez, and then-Spanish Premier Felipe Gonzalez.
Cubillas, the husband of a Venezuelan citizen who has held several public posts since Chavez became president in 1999, was himself named to a position in Venezuela’s Agriculture Ministry in 2005.
Caracas says the accusations by Judge Velasco “are the product of the utilization of files contained in the computer allegedly seized from (FARC No. 2) Raul Reyes,” after the March 2008 Colombian military attack that resulted in the rebel leader’s death.
In its communique, the Venezuelan government calls it “surprising that the judge resuscitates the worn-out farce of the computer, which has already become a part of Colombian political folklore.”
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro telephoned Spanish counterpart Miguel Angel Moratinos on Monday to discuss the charges, the statement said.
Besides rejecting Velasco’s allegations, Maduro reminded Moratinos that Venezuela originally accepted Cubillas at Madrid’s request, the Venezuelan statement said.
ETA, an acronym for the Basque language words for Homeland and Freedom, has killed more than 850 people since taking up arms in 1968 to seek a Basque nation comprising parts of northern Spain and southern France.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, has battled a succession of Colombian governments since the mid-1960s. EFE