The war on terror has encouraged other countries to follow and kill known terrorists who found safe havens a couple miles across the border.

First someone dropped a missile on some AlQaeda bigshot in Pakistan, then the Turks sent troops to chase Kurdish separatists into Iraq. They too were terrorists who have killed and bombed many innocent Turks during the last twenty years.

Now Colombia has gone across their borders and killed not one but two FARC bigshots who thought they were safe and protected by “friendly” governments, one in Venezueala, and the second, a bid surprise, in Ecuador.

Venezuela’s President Chavez has been busy trying to get the world to acknowledge FARC as a freedom loving insurgency, ( so that revolutionary leftists can freely send them money) but without much success.

First he tried to paint FARC as eager to make peace by “negotiating” for hostage release as a publicity stunt, complete with Oliver Stone there to film. Alas, the stunt blew up into embarassment when it was found that one of the hostages (a child) had long been out of their hands.

But the story turned out to be even more shocking, since the mother had become pregnant by one of her captors (i.e. statuatory rape). Then it turns out the child was taken from the mother, and given to another family, where his care was so bad that local doctors removed the child from the family to save it’s life.

FARC has been in trouble lately: After years of a “insurgency fueled by drug money vs right wing death squads paid for by rich folks” fighting it out while weak governments tried to negotiate, what has happened is a strong government.

Under President Uribe, those working with FARC are being offered the carrot (amnesty) and the stick (there is no place to hide). These messages on radio and other media outlets must be working, since some reports say that FARC has confiscated radios and tried to replace them with mp3 players so that their soldiers won’t be tempted.
At the same time, the public, tired of kidnappings of middle class businesspeople, and horrified after a mass murder of a eleven politicians last June, started to show their anger with huge demonstrations. The latest, world wide demonstrations arranged not by the government but by grass roots via Facebook, had an estimated one million people demonstrating against FARC’s violence.

Yet as long as the “insurgency” can sell drugs, and hide in nearby “friendly” countries there is a danger to the Colombian people.

Ergo, the cross border excursions.

The French hyperventillated about the first victim, hit in Venezuela, crying that he was negotiating with them about releasing a dual French/Colombian lady who is sick in captivity.

Well, yes, but reality check: All they had to do was drop her off at the nearest hospital and she’d be fine. So what they were actually doing was asking for oodles of cash in exchange.
But the second bomb across the border into Ecuador is even more interesting: Reyes was not just a leader but a negotiator who often met with outsiders. What was he doing in Ecuador (the “hostage” negotiating was being done in Venezueala), and why did Chavez protest a lot faster than the Ecuadorian government?

Perhaps the answer is that pesky laptop found in the ruins.

As the geeks joke: Love is for a time, but Hard Drives are forever.

And if one is to believe the Colombian government, the laptop contained information about Chavez funding FARC with $300 million, partly in payback for the $150 thousand they paid to Chavez when he was jailed for a coup in 1992.

If this is proved to be true, it might prove Chavez essentially is committing an act of war against Colombia. And then there are those wild claims of “dirty bombs” and that Reyes had been seen negotiating with a “gringo” (i.e. someone with pale skin).
As a result of the cross border raids, both Ecuador and Venezuela are threatening war as a matter of national pride in Ecuador, and in Venezuela, as a way to prop up a government who has a faltering economy.

The diplomats will presumably calm things down, but the raids have destroyed the illusion of invulnerability, not to mention that those pesky laptops might have even more information as experts start decoding their data.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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