Venezuela denies aiding Colombian rebels
Venezuela's foreign minister denied in a newspaper interview Wednesday a report by a British think tank that his country aided Colombian leftist rebels with cash and territorial access.
Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro told the newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo during a visit to Brazil that the report by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) was "trash."
He said the only contacts between the Venezuelan government and leftist FARC rebels were at the request of the government of Colombia, for humanitarian reasons, to help rescue a hostage or discuss peace efforts.
"This report is only trash," Maduro said of the IISS document. "Full of intrigue, lies and a central objective: to obscure the positive atmosphere we have built with the new government of Colombia."
According to the report released on Tuesday, Venezuela's leftist President Hugo Chavez promised a $300-million warchest and territorial access to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia in 2007.
The report also said the rebel group had widened its influence in the Andean region by giving financial backing to the election campaign of Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, a close Chavez ally.
The IISS report is based on two years of analysis of computer files seized in March 2008 from a slain FARC commander.
The files were contained in three computers, hard drives and flash drives used by FARC's number two, Raul Reyes, who was killed by Colombian forces in a raid on a FARC camp in Ecuador.
Maduro argued that the study was launched by London and Washington, adding: "Imagine the objective they have... the aim of causing damage" to Venezuela.
© 2011 AFP