After several years of establishing themselves in Venezuelan territory under the patronage and complacency of the Chavez dictatorship, the leaders of the Colombian guerrilla FARC announced that they are taking up arms again and are beginning a “new era of the struggle.”
In a video published online, the guerillas Ivan Marquez, alias ‘Jesus Santrich,’ and Hernan Dario Velasquez, alias ‘El Paisa’ declared that they are seeking an alliance with the terrorist group National Liberation Army (ELN) which has also found refuge in Venezuela. In fact, according to Colombian intelligence officials, the video was recorded in Venezuelan territory.
The alliance between the two terrorist groups presents a grave security threat to Colombia and the region. If they efforts materialize, the FARC and the ELN will have an army of at least 4000 guerillas. Moreover, they can use to their advantage the crisis in the country governed by Maduro to recruit young Venezuelans to fill the ranks of these groups.
Todo indica que el ELN, ahora millonario con el oro venezolano, también se integra a la lucha armada anunciada por las FARC…terrible noticia para Colombia y los paises fronterizos
— Nelson Bocaranda S. (@nelsonbocaranda) August 29, 2019
The “rebirth” of the FARC is just one more example of the result of the unsuccessful dialogues sponsored by Norway. While they were supposedly negotiation “peace” in Colombia, the terrorist groups were reorganizing in Venezuela. However, Juan Manuel Santos won the Nobel, Norway got petroleum contracts, and Colombia merely got agreements of impunity. Furthermore, the guerillas evidently continued their illegal activities.
In Venezuela, interim president Juan Guaido and the regime of Nicolas Maduro initiated a dialogue moderated by Norway. Meanwhile, the country became a refuge for terrorists to plan the logistics of different criminal activities like narcotrafficking, money laundering, abductions, and terrorist attacks.
The latest knowledge we have of the whereabouts of FARC guerilla leaders is that Jesus Santrich and Ivan Marquez traveled to Cuba from Venezuela, but later returned to the oil-producing country.
Me llega la siguiente información:El avión de uso exclusivo de @NicolasMaduro que camuflan como comercial de Conviasa, matrícula YV3016 salió rampa 4 de Caracas destino La Habana. Transporta a Iván Márquez, Santrich y Adán Chávez para reunión emergencia en #Cuba pic.twitter.com/INbY4IRoNj
— Andrés Pastrana A (@AndresPastrana_) August 10, 2019
Intelligence reports from the Colombian Army suggest that Santrich fled to Venezuela and the ELN is now protecting him; ELN is the very terrorist group that has said it is willing to protect Maduro in the face of an eventual military coalition against the dictatorship. According to Colombian intelligence, the chief leaders of both terrorist groups are in Venezuela free and unrestricted, under the protection of Chavismo.
The crimes are planned in Venezuela
The ELN is at the service of Venezuela as a paramilitary group, practically assuming the same role as the armed collectives of Chavismo.
Según el diario @el_pais, “diversos observadores e información de inteligencia apuntan a que el grupo de excomandantes disidentes [de las #FARC, que anunciaron que retoman las armas] se encuentran en territorio venezolano”.#Venezuela
— Mariano de Alba (@marianodealba) August 29, 2019
“The ELN has become one of the paramilitary groups of Venezuela, essentially because they are working with the dictatorship. They are supporting delinquency through drug trafficking and illegal recruitment of minors,” said Francisco Barbosa, the high commissioner to the Colombian president for International Affairs and Human Rights.
According to crime monitoring organization InSight Crime, ELN has managed to establish itself in Venezuela to engage in criminal activities related to cattle, gasoline smuggling, and even extortion. It currently has a presence in at least 12 states in Venezuela and acts in cooperation with members of the Venezuelan Armed Forces.
According to the organization’s report, the Venezuelan National Armed Forces support ELN and facilitated the entry of the guerilla group into the Caribbean country. Additionally the military provides ELN arms and possibility of interacting with communities through the distribution of the boxes of the Local Supply and Production Committees (CLAP), a food program of the Venezuelan State, mentioned in the recent UN report as a social control mechanism to which only citizens belonging to the party have access, with the Carnet de la Patria.
The American Enterprise Institute presented a report in Washington in June 2017 indicates that thanks to the alliance between guerrilla and chavismo, Venezuela is now a distribution center for cocaine produced by the FARC and other drug trafficking groups.
ELN and FARC are millionaires thanks to Venezuelan gold
FARC and ELN’s announcement compromises peace in the region. The latter group has enriched itself through administering gold exploited on Venezuelan soil.
According to a recent report by InSight Crime, the ELN controls illegal gold mining in Venezuela. By encashing 10% of the production in gold mines, the ELN gained space and power in Venezuelan territory and resources to continue financing its criminal activities.
“These activities of exploitation and delivery of gold and coltan to the Venezuelan government used to be carried out by the ‘pranes’ (criminals or former convicts who belonged to organized crime and controlled the exploitation of resources with blood and fire), but gradually, the FARC dissidents and ELN guerrillas who have entered Venezuela have been assuming these roles,” explained former gubernatorial candidate and former deputy Andres Velasquez.
As long as Maduro’s regime remains in power, Venezuela will be a threat to peace in the region by becoming a refuge for these criminal and terrorist groups. As journalist Sebastiana Barraez pointed out on Twitter, “The ELN and the FARC feel at home operating from Venezuela.” All signs indicate that the liberation of Venezuela will be necessary to achieve peace in Colombia.