Juan Forero, reporting at the WaPo:
Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez allegedly helped Colombian, Spanish militants forge ties
Now, based on documents and witness testimony, Chávez is facing fresh accusations that his government has gone well beyond assisting the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. Documents seized from two subversive groups, along with information provided by former Colombian guerrillas, suggest that Venezuela facilitated training sessions here between the FARC and ETA, a separatist group in Spain that uses assassinations and bombings in its effort to win independence for the northern Basque region.
The evidence led Judge Eloy Velasco of the National Court in Madrid to level charges of terrorism and conspiracy to commit murder in March against a Chávez government official, Arturo Cubillas, and a dozen members of the FARC and ETA. Spanish authorities want Venezuela to extradite those accused, but so far the Chávez government has not responded to Velasco’s international warrant.
The latest revelations, largely based on information collected by Spanish investigators in Colombia, Venezuela and France, prompted Arturo Valenzuela, the State Department’s assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere affairs, to declare in a congressional hearing in March that the Obama administration is “extremely concerned” by the allegations.
With Chávez hamstrung by harsh economic conditions, some in the U.S. Congress worry that the Venezuelan president could increasingly radicalize and forge closer links with subversive organizations or nations such as Iran, Sudan and Belarus.
He’s been doing that for a while, but I digress.
The evidence comes from the Raul Reyes laptops, but there are also witnesses:
Two former FARC guerrillas who disarmed and now live freely in Colombia said in interviews that they saw ETA operatives in FARC camps outside Machiques in 2008.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity because they fear retribution for having cooperated with Colombian authorities, the former rebels described how Venezuelan military officers accompanied ETA operatives to the camps. The training, the rebels said, included how to build rockets and car bombs.
Also on Venezuela, at The Economist,
Venezuela economy: War on “speculators”
I’ll be talking about this in today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern.