Is Hugo Chavez Pulling a Qaddafi?
Hugo Chavez may be pulling a trick the “World’s 11th Worst Dictator”, Muammar Qaddifi pulled back in 2000.
Twelve Colombian politicians kidnapped by Marxist rebels in 2002 have appealed in a video for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to help in their release.
The video, released by the rebels and shown on Colombian TV, was the first sign since October 2004 that the provincial lawmakers were still alive.
Mr Chavez has in the past been accused of supporting the rebels, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
Colombia said it would not object to Venezuela helping to secure a release.
The politicians were abducted by Farc rebels dressed as policemen in April 2002 in Cali, 300km (190 miles) south-west of Bogota.
Back in 2000, Muammar Qaddafi aided in the release of several foreign tourists captured by the Abu Sayef terrorist network in the Philippines:
Libya played a key role in negotiations with rebels of the Abu Sayyaf group, who are still holding 18 westerners hostage in a jungle on the island of Jolo.
The westerners were taken hostage from the Malaysian resort of Sipadan on 23 April.
Reports say that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi paid $1m for each released hostage, but both Libya and the Philippines deny that any ransom has been paid.
Libya at first denied that it was involved in negotiations with the terrorist group. But, later it was announced that they were working to free the captives. This helped improve Qaddafi’s world image. It also aided the terrorists of Abu Sayef. Libya had earlier assisted in talks between rival Muslim rebel groups in 1996 and again in 2003.
It is no surprise that Hugo Chavez was asked to assist with the release of the FARC captives. Chavez has a long history of assisting the FARC terror organization:
President Chavez was in constant and secret touch with the FARC leadership. Serna remarked that in Colombian television broadcasts of the presidential summit “you can see not only our closeness, but also the confidence and the comments he made to me on various occasions.” Indeed, the footage shows Chavez laughing, jostling, and whispering in Serna’s ear.
Three months after diplomatic tension over the Serna incident died down, the Chavez-FARC connection surfaced again when Venezuela’s intelligence chief, Jesus Urdaneta, publicly denounced Chavez for supporting FARC.
There was even a video released in 2002 that showed meetings between Venezuelan military leaders and FARC guerilla commanders.
THE COLOMBIAN GOVERNMENT is currently embroiled in the most momentous FARC-related matter since Simon Trinidad’s extradition. On December 14, 2004, Ricardo Granda, widely known as FARC’s “foreign secretary,” was arrested on the Colombian border. One of the most senior, well connected, and highly skilled political strategists in FARC’s history, Granda had been living in Venezuela’s capital.
In Caracas Granda enjoyed Venezuelan citizenship (granted by government decree), took advantage of state-supplied protection, and even, on December 8, participated in a government-sponsored networking conference attended by Chavez, Daniel Ortega, and other revolutionary socialists.
Now, Chavez has the opportunity to look like the hero by helping release the Columbian politicians while aiding the FARC terror group at the same time. It is a win-win for Hugo, just like it was for Muammar Qaddafi in 2000, pre-9-11.
In a brave move, the Opposition held an Anti-Chavez rally in Caracas yesterday.