Venezuela Arming FARC Rebels: Stolen Emails

By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2009 4:45 PM CDT
Soldiers stand at a camp of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, after troops faced off with rebels in Puerto Rico, Colombia, Saturday, July 25, 2009.   (AP Photo/William Fernando Martinez)
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(Newser) – Despite frequent denials by President Hugo Chavez, it seems Venezuela is still arming Colombian rebels on the sly, the New York Times reports. Computer files captured from FARC rebels reveal Venezuela's efforts to get them missiles, sniper rifles, radios, and Venezuelan identity cards. This after Chavez froze relations with Colombia last year, fuming over accusations that Venezuela was arming rebels with rocket launchers.

Venezuela's US ambassador shrugged off the evidence, saying, “Colombia’s government is trying to build a case in the media against our country that serves its own political agenda." The emails, obtained by a Colombian raid and handed to Western intelligence agencies, implicate high-ranking Venezuelan officials and may hurt Barack Obama’s efforts to mend ties with Chavez. The US and EU, after all, consider FARC a terrorist group.