Merchant of Death
Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

Blood from Stones

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The Bolivarian Revolution's Fight Against Democracy
There are several new factors that point to how the Bolivarian Revolution is working to undermine Latin America's fragile institutions. The first is the stunning video of senior FARC commander Jorge Briseño, AKA Mono Jojoy, acknowleging that the guerrilla group gave money to the campaign of Ecuador's Rafael Correa.

The Correa government's high-level complicity in aiding and abetting the FARC were further clarified in this special program by Colombia's RCN radio in Colombia (in Spanish), which details, from the Reyes documents, the multiple high level meetings the FARC held with the Ecuadoran government. From these previously unpublished documents, it is clear the amount of money the FARC gave the Correa campaign is at least $300,00.

The Briceño video surfaced in two different raids on the FARC operatives and shows Mono Jojoy reading a statement to his troops from long-time FARC leader Manuel Marulanda, who had just died. Marulanda's statement confirms the authenticity of the documents found by Colombian officials in the camp of Raul Reyes, the FARC's deputy commander, when Reyes was killed on March 1, 2008 in Ecuador.

Reyes had been living in a hard camp in Ecuador for several months and felt safe enough to keep 600 gigabytes of FARC records with him, a sign that his friendship with Correa likely paid off.

Marulanda laments that Colombia seized a trove of electronic documents that badly compromised the rebels and their foreign friends - namely, Correa and President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

"The secrets of the FARC have been lost completely," Briceno reads.

It is not clear if Correa knew of the FARC money, although the documents show that senior members of his campaign were personally involved in receiving the money. What is clear from the document is that Mono Jojoy (perhaps the senior FARC leader most involved in drug trafficking, kidnappings and other criminal activity and the group's senior military commander) and other FARC leaders are placing a great deal of importance on cultivating its friends around the region. This is clear in the FARC documents that deal with Bolivia as well, where the person in charge of the relationship with Bolivian sympathizers is repeatedly urged to maintain friendly relations with president Evo Morales and other government and non-government leaders.

The second element is the new GAO report on the rise of drug trafficking through Venezuela. The report found that:

According to U.S. and Colombian officials, Venezuela has extended a lifeline to Colombian illegal armed groups by providing significant support and safe haven along the border. As a result, these groups, which traffic in illicit drugs, remain viable threats to Colombian security. A high level of corruption within the Venezuelan government, military, and other law enforcement and security forces contributes to the permissive environment, according to U.S. officials.

This is the symbiosis of state and nonstate actors that is the new paradigm of the criminal/terrorist nexus. Perhaps no group has mastered this form of quasi-state terrorism as well as Hezbollah, with its sponsors in Iran and Syria. It is the type of relationship that allows states some form of plausible deniability while spreading a violent revolution against their enemies and democratic governments.

The danger now is the Iran-Hezbollah presence in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador. The "illegal armed groups" of Colombia will be seeking, if they have not already found, ways to ally themselves with Hezbollah for training, exchanging lessons learned and the experiences. That can only help the FARC survive, something that would not be possible without help from their regional friends.
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