Sun, Jul 19, 2009 - Page 7 News List

Video confirms FARC contribution

AP , BOGOTA

A video grab taken from an undated video shows Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia’s No. 2 commander Jorge Briceno.

PHOTO: AP

An hour-long video police found in a computer of an alleged rebel appears to confirm that Colombia? largest rebel army gave money to the 2006 election campaign of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa.

The video shows the second-ranking commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) reading the deathbed manifesto of founding leader Manuel ?ureshot?Marulanda. The manifesto states that the FARC made contributions to Correa? campaign, but does not clarify whether Correa was aware of them.

The video, given to reporters by a government official on condition of anonymity, adds weight to evidence found in a half-dozen electronic documents recovered at a rebel camp destroyed in a cross-border raid last year. Correa has accused Colombia of fabricating the documents, despite an investigation by the global police agency Interpol that determined they were not altered.

In the video the manifesto is read aloud by Jorge Briceno, a member of the FARC? ruling secretariat and No. 2 commander.

Ties between Colombia and neighboring Ecuador are deeply frayed, and the video is sure to complicate relations further. Colombia is outraged that the FARC ?a leftist group on the US State Department? terror list ?was operating out of Ecuador, allegedly with the support of that country? leftist government.

Ecuador broke diplomatic ties after Colombia crossed into its territory last year to raid a rebel camp.

Told of the video on Friday, Ecuador? security minister, Miguel Carvajal, denied that Correa? government had ?ny relation in the campaign or has any relation with or contributions from groups such as the FARC, and certainly no type of accord.?br />

Correa himself has repeatedly denied any ties to FARC.

The video was found on a computer seized on May 30 in the Bogota home of a suspected FARC operative, and finally decrypted last week.

It shows Briceno reading from a laptop perched on a roughhewn shelf to about 250 somber-looking rebels in a jungle clearing.

Briceno first informs the troops of Marulanda? death and of changes in the rebel leadership. He reads from a missive from 貞omeone present when Marulanda died on March 26 last year at age 78 of an apparent heart attack.

?e awake today with an immense solitude, so very sad. The comrade died yesterday, the 26th, at 18:20 hours,?Briceno reads.

The faces of his young audience are grim. They look dumbstruck, distressed.

Briceno reads from the letter Marulanda wrote just days before his death. The letter stresses the strategic importance of ?aintaining good political relations, friendship and confidence with the governments of Venezuela and Ecuador.?br />

Marulanda laments that 耶olombia seized a trove of electronic documents that badly compromised the rebels and their foreign friends ?namely, Correa and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

?he secrets of the FARC have been lost completely,?Briceno reads.

Among those secrets is ?ssistance in dollars to Correa? campaign and subsequent conversations with his emissaries,?the letter said.

The letter does not say whether Correa personally knew of the money, and does not mention an amount.

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