L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

07 March 2008 Blog Home : March 2008 : Permalink

T'Hugo's Well FARCed

South America's answer to Kim Il Bob Mugabe, "T'Hugo" Chavez, is looking like a bit of a plonker today. Having given moral and allegedly more concrete support to the FARC in neighbouring Columbia, T'Hugo was less than pleased when the Columbians blew the crap out one of the FARC's bases in Ecuador - killing one of its leaders and then (even better for the Columbians) capturing all sorts of juicy intelligence data on some laptops. He threatened war and mobilized thousands of troops, sending them to the border with Columbia. He also claimed that Uribe was Bush's Poodle and made other foaming at the mouth comments that go down well in the "Bushiltler" circles but not so well elsewhere.

Irritatingly for T'Hugo, while a few other lefty presidents in S America gave him support, popular support for the FARC seems to be curiously lacking. There are are all sorts of resolutions and condemnations like "next time Columbia maybe tell the Ecuadorians first OK" but nothing much more. In part no doubt because, despite all the denials, the laptops seem to be pretty chock full of highly embarassing emails indicating that yes the presidents of Ecuador and Venezuela were indeed conspiring with a group that pretty much the entire civilized world considers to be drug-traffickers, terrorists etc.

As a result when it came to today's Latin American summit started the BBC reported that:

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez had called for a cooling of tensions over the raid.

And then the other shoe dropped. Instead of Columbia sending its troops to the border to counter the Venezuelan bluster, they 'killed' another senior FARC leader. ('quotes' from the BBC headline):

The Colombian security forces say they have killed another senior member of the Farc rebel group.

The reported death of Ivan Rios is the second blow to the left-wing guerrilla group in less than a week.

Last Saturday another top commander, Raul Reyes, was killed by troops in a raid just inside Ecuador.

He was the first member of the Farc's ruling secretariat to die in combat. The killing triggered a diplomatic row, with Ecuador denouncing the incursion.

Mr Rios was killed in a mountainous area of the western province of Caldas, military sources say.

And now we wonder when the rest of the FARC leadership have similar accidents. It's no doubt going to be a tad tough on the various hostages that the FARC are holding and which they said they would probably release during peace negotiations, but given that the FARC claimed to be going to release hostages who weren't actually in captivity recently no one with any sense is going to trust them anyway.