On May 15 Interpol made public its report on the information contained in the laptops of deceased narco-terrorist FARC leader Raul Reyes. As I have written here before these computers apparently contain files documenting millions of dollars in funding to FARC promised by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
The government of Colombia had requested the help of the international police organization to determine if the information found in the computers had been preserved intact or if it had been tampered with in any way.
The report by Interpol was sober and professional. Some 610 gigabytes of documents were found in eight pieces of electronic equipment found by the Colombian army on the terrorist’s camp located in Ecuadorian territory. There are 109 files, 452 excel sheets, 7989 e-mail addresses, 10537 multimedia files, over 37000 documents in WORD or PDF and over 210000 images. Almost 1000 documents were encoded. The almost 8000 e-mail addresses contained by the laptops will probably read like a “Who’s Who” among Latin American or even global terrorists.
Interpol’s three experts participating in the work were instructed to restrict their analysis to establish if the documents had been tampered with. Their main conclusions were: (a), there were no indications of elimination or modification of existing documents, or of the creation of new ones and, (b), the handling of the computers by Colombian authorities had been in accordance with international standards from March 3 to March 10, day that Interpol took over the evidence.
However, from March 1 to March 3, the documents in the computers were accessed directly by the Colombian police and not through copies, as dictated by international procedures. In addition, some documents showed signs of having been modified although the timing of these changes, according to Interpol, was clearly prior to March 1, when the computers came into possession of the Colombian authorities. The main conclusion of Interpol was, therefore, that the documents found in the equipment captured by the Colombian authorities had not been manipulated in any way and that they represented the original contents of the electronic equipment found in the raid.
Venezuelan President Chavez called the press conference of Interpol “a show of clowns”. President Correa of Ecuador exclaimed, “I could not care less about their findings”. The Venezuelan Minister of Defense claimed that the report by Interpol was “a big lie, prepared in U.S. laboratories”.
Intense lobbying by the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington is currently in full swing, trying to stop a possible U.S. designation of Venezuela as a state sponsor of terrorism, a move that a considerable segment of Latin American public opinion is starting to consider justified, on the basis of the information already available.
This will not be a step the U.S. can easily take. With the price of a barrel of oil at over $120 and presidential elections this year, the U.S. government might not find it opportune to act against the Chavez regime at this moment in time. However, as the analysis of the significant volume of documents found in FARC laptops progresses, there is little doubt that the moment will come when taking this step will become unavoidable, not only by the United States but also by the entire hemispheric community of nations.
During the last two years Hugo Chavez has given increasing signs of alignment with the Colombian guerrillas. Members of his cabinet have transmitted to the FARC his pledges of support. After Reyes perished at the hands of the Colombian army Chavez called for a minute of silence in his memory and referred the the fallen FARC leader as a revolutionary hero. The documents contained in FARC’s laptops will only serve as further proof of what is already evident: the terrorist nature of Hugo Chavez’s regime.