Thursday, March 6, 2008


The New York Times today has an editorial on the recent intrusion of armed forces of Colombia into Ecuador. This clearly violated international law. One country cannot legally invade another, even if the intrusion was only a mile or two. However the NY Times seems to believe that Hugo Chavez and Venezuela are meddlesome interlopers:

"Venezuela — whose territory wasn’t violated — jumped in. President Hugo Chávez, who thrives on such crises, expelled Colombia’s ambassador, ordered forces to his border and threatened to block trade. Colombia then accused both Venezuela and Ecuador of aiding and abetting the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the guerrilla group known as FARC. . . .

"Mr. Chávez should just keep quiet. The more he meddles, the easier it is to believe that the charges against him are true."

In this case, the background is most important for a correct understanding of the role of Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela. Venezuela borders Colombia on the north and Ecuador borders Colombia on the south. Hugo Chavez has been instrumental in freeing at least six hostages taken prisoner by the Colombian insurgence, the FARC. These hostages have been in captivity in Colombian jungles, many of them for over six years. Colombia and its U.S. backed president, Alvaro Uribe, seem more intent on killing members of the FARC than securing the release of the hostages. One of thee hostages not freed is Ingrid Betancourt, both a citizen of France and Colombia, and a candidate for Colombian presidency until she was kidnapped several years ago.

The hostage crisis forms the backdrop to the Colombian raid on a FARC camp inside of Ecuador. The Colombians killed 18 FARC members with a late night raid, including FARC # 2 officer, Raul Reyes. Given Colombia's propensity to refuse to negotiate with FARC, and in light of the recent freeing of six hostages through the personal intervention of Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, what does the raid say about the FARC hostages still not released?

Colombia has in effect said that it does not care about the hostages still in captivity. It is going to kill all members of the FARC that it can, to hell with the hostages or their families or their release. Furthermore, this is a way that Alvaro Uribe can oppose Hugo Chavez after being shown up by Chavez for not making the release of the hostages a priority of the Colombian government.

Instead of calling Chavez an outside busybody, the NY Times should commend the efforts of President Hugo Chavez for securing the release of FARC hostages up till now. Hugo Chavez was well on his way to secure the freedom of many more, including Ingrid Betancourt. Now in light of the foolish Colombian raid, it is doubtful that the FARC will release any more. No wonder Hugo Chavez felt compelled to condemn Uribe and Colombia. In criticizing Chavez, the NY Times missed the whole import of the altruistic Chavez involvement.

1 comment:

  1. Chavez is a joke. A communist, a socialist, either way he wants to make himself rich and starve his people like Castro has done. Praise him? Praise him for what? orchestrating a BS scenerio where he looks like the hero. When he truly is the reason the FARC has hidden in his country and that of Ecuador. Freedom!