Colombia Kicks Over The Negotiating Table


When Luis Alfonso Hoyos walked into a regional meeting on Thursday, July 22,

he would have done well to remember that

– ever since U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell presented the alleged evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the U.N. Security Council in 2003 –

the standards for dramatic “intelligence” revelations have gone up.

Simply showing a few maps and pictures doesn’t cut it anymore,

much less when the implications are as serious as what Hoyos was arguing:

that Venezuela has been supporting Colombian insurgent groups.

But Hoyos, Colombia’s ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS),

went ahead with his presentation regardless.

He spoke for close to two hours on the merits of Colombian President Álvaro Uribe’s war

on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN).

Meanwhile, he accused Venezuela of harboring the two groups.

When it was all said and done,

he didn’t prove much more than the fact that Uribe is desperately trying to place obstacles in front of a possible rapprochement between the two neighboring countries.

On its face, Colombia’s supposed “evidence” was laughable,

just as it has been on previous occasions when similar accusations have been made.

Hoyos showed pictures of FARC insurgents, claiming that they were in camps deep in Venezuelan territory.

The proof?

A stray Venezuelan flag and a bottle of Venezuelan beer

– hardly incontrovertible geographic evidence.

He then showed Google map locations of alleged FARC encampments on Venezuela’s side of the border.

But again, Hoyos failed to show that FARC or ELN insurgents were actually there,

or that they had ever been there.

Most importantly,

he had no concrete evidence that their supposed presence was met with the approval of the highest reaches of the Venezuelan government.

Venezuela has never denied that the 1,400-mile-long border it shares with Colombia is porous and difficult to secure.

Over the course of Colombia’s six-decade-long internal conflict,






have all crossed back and forth between the two countries,

leaving Venezuelan officials with the unenviable task of not only protecting Colombians fleeing from violence

but also trying to stem the flow of drugs and contraband.

That members of FARC and ELN

– as well as right-wing paramilitaries –

cross the border isn’t a shock to anyone.

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Armand Van Helden ~ Koochy

Tue Aug 3 , 2010