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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 06:32 AM
Original message
Chavez Meets Top Colombian Rebel Leader
Source: Associated Press

Chavez Meets Top Colombian Rebel Leader
By JORGE RUEDA 10 hours ago

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he met with a top leader of Colombia's second-largest rebel group as he seeks to help revive peace negotiations between the guerrillas and Colombia's government.

"We sat down here with the No. 2 chief of the ELN, Antonio Garcia," Chavez said Friday, referring to the National Liberation Army. Colombian Peace Commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo also attended the talks at the presidential palace Thursday night, he said.

Chavez didn't reveal details of what he'd discussed with the ELN leader, but said he also spoke earlier Thursday with the rebel group's chief, Nicolas Rodriguez Bautista, known by the nom-de-guerre "Gabino." It was unclear if they met in person or spoke by phone.

The talks came as Chavez also tries to negotiate a swap of imprisoned rebels for hostages held by Colombia's largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC. Among the dozens of captives are French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and three Americans.

Chavez met with a FARC representative last week in Caracas, and will visit Paris on Tuesday for talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

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mithnanthy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 10:12 AM
Response to Original message
1. Thanks Judi Lynn, for reporting.
If Hugo helps in the negotiations for the release of captives, which includes 3 Americans....the White House will have to spin that around. I wish the Democratic Candidates, as a group, would express a willingness to have a positive dialogue with Chavez,on a variety of matters. I'm dreamin again....
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. It has seemed as if they are sticking totally close to the Bush administration,
to prevent right-wingers from being able to call them out.

For the politicians in the party, so unfortunately, there's been a threat hanging in the air, since the drunkard and fool Joe McCarthy attempted to control the entire country with his great, although unproductive, ultimately, Commie scare in the 1950's, before he died abjectly of alcoholism.

Hope they outgrow this sometime, don't you?

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rjones2818 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 10:27 AM
Response to Original message
2. Negotiations sometimes actually work.
Better to try to come up with a negotiated settlement than to go in with guns a'blazin'. Hear, hear to Hugo!
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boricua79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 10:32 AM
Response to Original message
3. quick!
Send in the U.S army...Chavez intends to use the Rebel Army to supplement his army, so that he can impose his Castro-style dictatorship, so that he maybe can keep his people down, so that he may theoretically introduce communism in South America, and perhaps invade the United States, but not until he has the aid of the Intergalactic Gorkons, who themselves have passed new constitutional reforms and started negotiations with the Rebel Alliance to supplement their army, so that they can impose.....



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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 07:22 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Thank you, boicua79! Welcome to DU! And please finish the story!
I want to know what happens to the Intergalactic Gorkons! And what will they do if the president they saved from the Gu'uld decides to become a god himself? Tear him limb from limb, is my guess--and he knows it.
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boricua79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-18-07 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. how did you know!
You must be a telepath! :P
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 08:08 PM
Response to Original message
6. Follow the money...
The civil war in Colombia is worth billions to the rightwing faction in Colombia, not to mention its usefulness to other recipients of phony "war on drugs" lard.

They will sabotage any peace, if they can. I'm not sure where Uribe really stands in all this (rightwing president of Colombia, with a bad history of connections to paramilitary death squads, with their heinous crimes, and drugs/weapons trafficking). But this negotiation seems to have his support. I think he may be trying to forge a new image for himself, since his old image has gotten exposed. He moved quickly to try to distance himself from exploding scandals in Colombia, where the death squads, etc., were revealed.

I also hope Chavez isn't walking into a trap. Colombia is a snakepit of people who would like to see him dead (and who would pull the trigger).

Settling of the Colombian civil war (30 years of carnage so far, most of it from the rightwing military, and its closely associated paramilitaries, with U.S. assistance) would be a very positive outcome for the South American left, the Bolivarian Revolution, and many of its goals. I imagine that's why Chavez is risking this negotiation. The Bolivarian Revolution is showing that peaceful, democratic change can occur, and that social justice can be achieved. The Colombian leftist guerrillas, like their rightwing enemy, are dinosaurs. At one time, there were no options for the poor or their leftist political supporters in South America, and their sufferings were immense--every kind of oppression was inflicted upon, including torture and mass slaughter. Things have changed--profoundly changed. The left is now in power in the great majority of South American countries--Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and, to the north, Nicaragua. Colombia is still stuck in the past--where people fled into the hills and armed themselves, the oppression was so bad. The fascists in Colombia have maybe improved slightly, but there still have been hundreds of murders, mostly of innocent poor people, quite recently.

But I think that, were it not for the billions of dollars that the Bush Junta has poured into rightwing coffers in Colombia, this civil war would have been settled long ago. That is part of what Chavez is dealing with. The rightwing, armed by the Bushites, and rewarded with riches, keeps killing, despite a UN 'truth and reconciliation' process (which was too lenient toward the death squads), and FARC and ELN guerrillas see no reason to stop resisting. 30 years is a long time. Few can really like living in the guerrilla mode for that long; not to mention the danger of it. They keep it up because they see no alternative. The Colombian government is vastly unjust.

It's interesting that, in Bolivia, the fascists want their own state (the one with the rich gas and oil reserves). They want to split off from the leftist government of Evo Morales, for the obvious reason of greed, and their inability to outvote the vast poor majority, now that Bolivia has clean elections. But in Colombia, when FARC proposes this, the fascists react in horror. I really don't know if FARC is fit to govern, but they can't be much worse than the government of Colombia, and, with mentoring from the Bolivarians, they could maybe make a go of democracy. Perhaps OAS-sponsored elections could settle the matter. Give the FARC-ELN region some autonomy and hold neutral elections. And, of course, fully demobilize the U.S. "war on drugs" and the Colombian military/paramilitary forces in that region.

Back to Uribe: Maybe he sees "the handwriting on the wall." The Bolivarian Revolution is succeeding, and promises new prosperity and independence for South America. There could be much gain for Colombia in joining it, at least in projects of mutual benefit (pipelines, regional trade). And Colombian migrant workers in Venezuela are seeing free health care, free education through university, and numerous improvements in the lives of the poor, and are taking their visions of social justice back to Colombia. It's only a matter of time before the rich elite in Colombia has to yield to a more equitable distribution of wealth. Perhaps Chavez has gotten Uribe to glimpse a better future, and a peaceful transition for Colombia.

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-18-07 02:25 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Yeah, I have noticed the strangely supportive public statements from Uribe and from a cabinet member
have been on this anticpated conference with the rebels.

The FARC have been requesting a safe area for ages where they could come forward for various purposes to meet with opposition, and they have been flatly denied.

Reading the remark from Uribe that if the elderly rebel leader comes out in the open he'll be mowed down was very hard to accept, considering the grand opportunities which have been extended to the paramilitaries/death squad/mass murderers.

Something about the appearance of support for Chavez's efforts at mediation, combined with the ongoing threats to the FARC when it has attempted to seek a chance to communicate is a little unsettling.

You're right about wondering about Chavez's general safety, considering the fact that Uribe himself has apologized to him personally for the murder plot which was concocted in Colombia (involving members of the Venezuelan oligarchy, along with right-wing Colombians), and acknowledged Colombian paramilitary responsibility in the discovery of over 100 armed Colombian paramilitaries quartered on a ranch, next door to Venezuelan media mogul, Gustavo Cisneros, on the property of Cuban Venezuelan opposition activist, Roberto Alonso, in a violent plot to play out in Caracas.

Chavez is obviously unsafe well into the future, maybe as long as there are fascits in any position of power in Venezuela who will collaborate with U.S. business/military interests. It appears there was a miracle leading up to the peoples' finding out, by penetrating the curtain of silence in the Venezuelan media, that their leader had been kidnapped, and forcing his return to his elected office. The miracle was that the tiny peoples' tv station, which had been dismantled by the oligarchy, managed to get up and running again in time to get the message out, anyway, even as the radio and tv stations and the newspapers all denied anything had happened to Hugo Chavez, who was taken by gun, well away, and hidden, even as his cabinet members and other associates had to go into hiding even as the opposition forces went searching through their homes in order to arrest and imprison them.

I hope he will always start from the assumption there is a deadly risk in anything he might undertake, and make his plans accordingly. I also hope that people who imagine that by murdering the Venezuelan peoples' President, they can throw control back to the same old oligarchy, will wake up and realize that this movement is going to go forward, with, or without Hugo Chavez, and that the people decided that in 1989, when US-supported and later impeached Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez had his military fire directly into the faces of protesting poor Venezuelan who had poured into the streets to protest his brutal economic measures which were far beyond their ability to accept, in the "El Caracazo" massacre in February,1989.

Here's a page of a few photos of the aftermath:

The movement is a statement by the people. It's far larger than Hugo Chavez. Right-wingers here need to discover that fact.
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