Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela crisis: 6 March 2008 (updated II)
Caracas, Venezuela, 6 March 2008. The diplomatic crisis among Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela continues at a slower pace. After OAS resolution condemned any county violation of its territorial sovereignty, President Rafael Correa insisted a direct and strong condemnation of Colombian is waited for. OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, acknowledged there is still work to be done on this crisis. Diplomatic efforts are now aimed at the summit of the Rio Group which will be held tomorrow at Dominican Republic. All three Presidents are listed as attendants to the Summit. Thus, a trilateral meeting is possible. Moreover, Presidents of Ecuador and Argentina are currently in Caracas. US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, has said her country expected a diplomatic solution to the crisis. However, as the crisis unfolds and more information is made available, the role played by US bases in the area is yet to be found. Mexican government has also been drawn in the crisis as its citizens were injured or dead during the Colombian raid of Ecuadorian territory.
On the other hand, FARC dynamited an oil pipe in the area where its No 2 leader, Raul Reyes, was killed. President Chavez rejected news suggesting his phone call helped locate FARC leader. Chavez said he could not possible make telephone or any other direct contact with FARC leaders or members. According to Caracol, Colombian government is worried about the possible nationalization of business in Venezuela. Last night, President Chavez hinted Venezuela could take over Colombian business in the country. Like other countries, Venezuela is holding a demonstration today against Colombian paramilitaries and for the Humanitarian deal.
- President Correa met with Mrs Yolanda Pulecio, mother of Ingrid Betancourt, in Caracas. Then, he flew to Nicaragua where he met with President Daniel Ortega. During a press conference, Correa asked FARC to stop inhumane practice of hostage taking. He also described the events leading to the current crisis and asked for support to condemn Colombian aggression tomorrow at the Rio Summit. President Correa then travel to Panama this afternoon.
- As BBC says, OAS is currently buying time and the Rio Summit might issue a stronger statement on the crisis. Today, OAS Secretariat appointed the Ambassadors of Argentina, Brazil, Panama, Bahamas and Peru to make up for the commission that will investigate the events that led to the current crisis. Along with the Secretary General, these Ambassadors will produce a report for the Foreign Ministers gathering on 17 March, 2008. OAS also stated it was difficult to take the information found in FARC computers as evidence; the way the computers were taken from a FARC camp produces limitations for their legal use. Veracity of the information is also a very difficult issue to settle. However, information on the computers was supposedly used to detain a notorious Russian arm trafficker, Victor Bout, in Thailand.
- Venezuela accused Colombia at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva for its intervention in Ecuadorian territory and the massacre of 22 people.
- President Chavez assured Yolanda Pulecio, mother of Ingrid Betancout, that his government would not cease efforts to liberate Colombian hostages held by FARC.
- In solidarity with Ecuador, Nicaragua severed diplomatic relations with Colombia. Ecuador and Venezuela had cut off diplomatic relations with Colombia earlier. During the last weeks, Nicaragua has informed international community over the threatening presence of Colombian ships in their common sea frontier. Colombia and Nicaragua had taken their maritime dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2001. In December 2007, ICJ judged it had jurisdiction to learn over this dispute as the 82 meridian did not constitute a maritime frontier between the two countries. Colombian ships have been prevented Nicaraguan fishers and Miskitos natives from doing their living in the disputed area. President Daniel Ortega conditioned the resumption of diplomatic relations to the observation of the ICJ decision by Colombia. Commenting on the Nicaraguan decision to cut off diplomatic relations, Colombian Minister of Defence, Juan Manuel Santos, said it wan a predictable step. Minister Santos denied there was a war ship in their common maritime frontier at the 82 meridian.
- Ecuador Minister for Internal and External Security, Gustavo Larrea, informed five people were detained under the assumption they were members of FARC. He also unveiled there might be up to 10 Mexican students among the dead in the FARC camp raided by Colombia. Larrea informed that at least five Mexican families have approached Ecuador to find out the whereabouts of their relatives. UNAM Mexican University students and professor travelled to Ecuador to research on FARC.
- Documents from the US Department of State indicate that American diplmats had contacts with FARC leader Raul Reyes in September 1988. They were interested in negotiating the liberation of hostages in the Colombian jungle.
- President Chavez travelled to Doninican Republic to attend the XX Summit of the Rio Group. Upon his arrival, Chavez called the International Community to look upon the internal conflict in Colombia. He also stated Uribe had imported the Bush doctrine into the region favouring American interventionism. Commenting on the information linking him to the FARC, Chavez recalled media manipulations against him dating back to 1995.
Related Stories: Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela crisis: 4-5 March 2008 (updated IV), Argentinean President Cristina Kirchner visits Venezuela (updated I), Number 2 FARC guerrilla leader Raul Reyes killed (updated III), Chavez sends tanks to Colombian border, Chavez closes Venezuelan Embassy in Colombia (Updated VII),