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Cablegate: Details On Farc Camps in Venezuela

P 112044Z APR 02
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8035
INFO NSC WASHDC
JOINT STAFF WASHDC
SECDEF WASHDC
DIRONDCP WASHDC
AMEMBASSY CARACAS
AMEMBASSY PANAMA
AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
AMEMBASSY QUITO
AMEMBASSY LIMA
USCINCSO MIAMI FL

id: 2745
date: 4/11/2002 20:44
refid: 02BOGOTA3281
origin: Embassy Bogota
classification: SECRET
destination: 02BOGOTA3101
header:
P 112044Z APR 02
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8035
INFO NSC WASHDC
JOINT STAFF WASHDC
SECDEF WASHDC
DIRONDCP WASHDC
AMEMBASSY CARACAS
AMEMBASSY PANAMA
AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
AMEMBASSY QUITO
AMEMBASSY LIMA
USCINCSO MIAMI FL


----------------- header ends ----------------

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 BOGOTA 003281

E.O. 12958: DECL: 4/4/2012
TAGS: PREL PTER MOPS VE CO
SUBJECT: DETAILS ON FARC CAMPS IN VENEZUELA

NOFORN

REF: BOGOTA 3101

CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR ANNE W. PATTERSON. REASON: 1.5
(B) AND (D)

1. (S/NF) SUMMARY: COLOMBIAN GOVERNMENT, MILITARY AND
CIVILIAN INTERLOCUTORS UNEQUIVOCALLY CONFIRM THE
EXISTENCE OF FARC CAMPS IN VENEZUELA (REFTEL). EMBASSY
INTERLOCUTORS IN THE GOC FEEL THE VENEZUELAN MILITARY HAS
BEEN ACTIVELY ORDERED AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS TO TURN A
BLIND EYE TO FARC AND ELN CAMPS. A RELIABLE SOURCE GAVE
POLOFF DESCRIPTIONS AND COORDINATES FOR CAMPS IN
VENEZUELA. THE GOC, FOR THE TIME BEING, IS PROBABLY
CONTENT TO LET THE ISSUE PLAY OUT IN THE PRESS AND WAIT
TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS TO CHAVEZ. THE COLMIL, HOWEVER, WILL
MOST LIKELY CONTINUE TO SPEAK OUT. END SUMMARY

2. (C) SEVERAL SOURCES, INCLUDING A COLMIL HELICOPTER
PILOT (REFTEL), THE ACTING FOREIGN MINISTER, AND A
REPORTER FOR XXXXXXXXXXXX, HAVE
GIVEN REPORTS ON HOW TO ARRIVE AT FARC CAMPS IN
VENEZUELA. THE ACTING FOREIGN MINISTER GAVE POLCOUNS A
MAP WITH THE SITE OF ONE FARC CAMP APPROXIMATELY 1.2
MILES INTO VENEZUELAN TERRITORY HIGHLIGHTED (8-45-10N,72-
40-15W). NOTE: POST WILL PROVIDE A COPY TO WHA/AND. END
NOTE.

3. (C) DIRECTIONS WERE GIVEN TO EMBOFF BY A REPORTER FROM
XXXXXXXXXXX INDICATING THAT SHE DROVE FOR 35 MINUTES AFTER
ENTERING VENEZUELA TO GET TO ONE OF THE CAMPS AND FOR 20
MINUTES TO GET TO THE OTHER. THE CAMPS SHE VISITED WERE
ACROSS THE BORDER FROM TIBU, NORTE DE SANTANDER.

4. (S/NF) SEPARATELY, A VERY RELIABLE COLOMBIAN SOURCE
GAVE EMBOFF THE COORDINATES AND DESCRIPTIONS OF SEVERAL
FARC CAMPS IN VENEZUELA. THE SOURCE SAID THESE CAMPS
REPRESENTED "THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG," BUT WERE INDICATIVE
OF THE LEVEL TO WHICH THE FARC HAS SET UP OPERATIONS IN
VENEZUELA. HE ELABORATED THAT IT IS AN OPEN SECRET FOR
THE VENEZUELANS THAT THESE CAMPS EXIST. A CAMP IN THE
AREA FROM WHICH THE ATTACK ON CARRENO'S TROOPS PROBABLY
CAME IS LOCATED IN VENEZUELA DIRECTLY OPPOSITE FROM A
COLOMBIAN AIRSTRIP. THE LOCATION OF THE CAMP IS 09-08-
18N, 072-50-54W. THE CAMP IS REPORTEDLY CAPABLE OF
HOUSING BETWEEN 100-120 FARC GUERRILLAS. ANOTHER CAMP
ABOUT ONE KILOMETER INTO VENEZUELAN TERRITORY IS LOCATED
ON THE SOCUAVO DEL SUR RIVER (0859N, 07233W).

5. (S/NF) THE SOURCE ALSO GAVE INFORMATION ABOUT A CAMP
LOCATED ON THE CATATUMBO RIVER ACROSS FROM NORTE DE
SANTANDER DEPARTMENT NORTH OF THE CITY OF CUCUTA (9-21N,
072-44W) IN WHICH ABOUT 120 FARC GUERRILLAS WERE COUNTED
IN LATE FEBRUARY. ANOTHER CAMP HAS ALSO BEEN IDENTIFIED
ACROSS THE BORDER FROM RIO DE ORO (08-37N, 072-39W).
ANOTHER CAMP LOCATED NEAR SAN SIMON DE CUCUY (01168N,
066509W) HAS A GRASS AIRSTRIP. YET ANOTHER CAMP WHICH
APPEARS TO BE A TRAINING FACILITY IS LOCATED IN THE AREA
OF GUASDUALITO, APURE DEPARTMENT, VENEZUELA (07-15N, 70-
44W). UNIDENTIFIED FOREIGN ADVISORS HAVE REPORTEDLY BEEN
SEEN IN THIS CAMP.

6. (C) SINCE CHAVEZ CAME TO POWER, THE GOV HAS BROKEN OFF
SEVERAL LONGSTANDING GOVERNMENT TO GOVERNMENT CONTACTS,
INCLUDING MILITARY TO MILITARY CONTACTS IN SEPTEMBER,
2000. THE GOC HAS REITERATED ITS DESIRE TO REINSTATE THE
COLOMBIA-VENEZUELA BORDER COMMISSION AS IT TRIES TO
MANAGE THE LATEST BORDER CRISIS IN A DIPLOMATIC WAY THAT
WILL NOT PLACE FURTHER STRAIN ON THE ALREADY DELICATE
DIPLOMATIC RELATIONSHIP. AFTER HAVING A UNIT AMBUSHED
AND LOSING TROOPS TO FARC UNITS OPERATING OUT OF
VENEZUELA ON MARCH 19, COLOMBIAN ARMY SECOND DIVISION
COMMANDER GENERAL MARTIN CARRENO FELT THE NEED TO
PUBLICLY ADDRESS THE PROBLEMS HIS TROOPS WERE FACING
(REFTEL).

7. (C) COMMENT: THERE IS A MOUNTING BODY OF HARD
EVIDENCE THAT THERE ARE FARC GUERRILLA CAMPS IN
VENEZUELA. THE GOC, FOR THE TIME BEING, IS PROBABLY
CONTENT TO LET THE ISSUE PLAY OUT IN THE PRESS AND WAIT
TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS TO CHAVEZ. THE COLMIL, HOWEVER, WILL
MOST LIKELY CONTINUE TO SPEAK OUT, ESPECIALLY, IF THE
ATTACKS FROM VENEZUELA LEAD TO MORE DEATHS AMONG
COLOMBIAN UNITS, THE SPARK THAT LED GENERAL CARRENO TO GO
PUBLIC IN THE MOST RECENT EVENT. POLOFFS WILL VISIT
BUCARAMANGA, THE SITE OF SECOND DIVISION HEADQUARTERS,
THE WEEK OF APRIL 15 TO DISCUSS THIS ISSUE WITH GENERAL
CARRENO AND HIS STAFF.


PATTERSON


>

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

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