the economist

From the guerrilla's mouth

SPEAKING earlier this month Ecuador’s foreign minister, Fander Falconí, observed that his country’s relations with Colombia had never been as bad. They just got worse: a video leaked to the Associated Press and published on July 17th showed the military commander of the FARC, Colombia’s biggest guerrilla group, saying that his organisation gave “aid in dollars” in 2006 for the election campaign of Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s president and had reached “agreements” with Ecuadorean officials.--The Economist

There is no evidence that Mr Correa himself knew about any FARC donation, and he denies that any existed. Ecuador’s electoral commission approved his campaign’s accounts. Mr Correa was quick to claim the video was a “fabrication”. But that is implausible. The FARC commander, Jorge Briceño, is well-known. Colombian police found the video, which shows him reading a letter to a group of guerrillas last year, on the computer of a FARC organiser arrested in Bogotá in May. His remarks referred to the damage done by the leaking of guerrilla “secrets” contained in e-mails found on computer equipment belonging to Raúl Reyes, a senior FARC leader killed when Colombian forces bombed and raided his camp just across the border in Ecuador in March last year.
That raid prompted Mr Correa to cut diplomatic ties with Colombia. They have not been restored. Colombian officials say privately that their efforts to defeat the FARC, whose money comes mainly from drug-trafficking and kidnapping, are hindered by the complicity of some Ecuadorean officials with the rebels. In his e-mails, Reyes wrote of giving $100,000 to Mr Correa’s campaign and of a later meeting with his interior minister. This was to discuss the release of FARC hostages, said Ecuador. But the minister’s former deputy who also met Reyes was arrested this year on suspicion of drug-trafficking. He said he sympathised with the FARC.
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