Rumors and accusations have been floating around for some time about links between the Chávez government and the FARC. Now Adam Isaacson at the Plan Colombia and Beyond blog has done us all a great favor by compiling all the evidence that’s come out over recent years in one place.
The conclusion? There is no conclusion. Though there have been accusations from both the Colombians and the U.S. government, as well as statements of support for the FARC and its members from the Venezuelan government, so far hard evidence is scarce, inconclusive, or circumstantial. Yet people – especially North American-type people – keep talking:
Words matter. Colombia could interpret (misinterpret?) the [Obama] administration’s message as a “green light,” a signal that Colombia would be justified in taking military action in Venezuelan territory, and that Colombia would have U.S. support in the political and military firestorm that would follow such action.
Precision is important, because it will determine what actions follow. The question the Obama administration needs to answer unambiguously, then, is: does it believe that Venezuela’s government, as a matter of policy (as opposed to the actions of corrupt or rogue elements), is aiding and abetting the FARC today?
The important thing, Isaacson says, is for governments on all sides stop accusing Venezuela of supporting the FARC until some hard, irrefutable evidence emerges, as such support would basically be grounds for war. Should evidence of Venezuelan support for the FARC emerge, Venezuela and Colombia should take their dispute to the UN Security Council before the shooting starts.