FARC’s international supporters targeted after Colombia terror blast

Seven people were killed and nearly 50 wounded, including several children, in the most serious Colombian terror attack this year, when a bomb hidden in a trash can exploded at Ituango, a small town in Antioquia department, as residents celebrated a festival the night of Aug. 14. Officials blamed the blast on the FARC guerillas, who they claimed were retaliating for efforts to eradicate nearby coca plantations. President Álvaro Uribe expressed his solidarity with the victims and said, “We reaffirm our iron will to defeat terrorism.” (Milenio, Mexico; Ottawa Citizen, Canada, Aug. 16; AP, Aug. 15)

The day after the blast, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court said he would visit Bogotá shortly to determine whether the court should open a formal investigation into the FARC’s international support networks. Spanish police last month arrested a woman, María Remedios García Albert, 57, on charges that she served as a liaison between the FARC’s leaders and its Europe-based operatives. Officials accuse García Albert of using a nongovernmental organization to channel money to FARC operatives. Colombia also asked Interpol this week to arrest Rodrigo Granda, a top FARC official who was captured by Colombian agents in Venezuela in 2004 and released in 2007 at the request of France—then trying to win the release of FARC hostages. Granda is thought to be living in Costa Rica, Cuba or Venezuela.

Groups of exiled Venezuelans in June petitioned the court to investigate the possibility of FARC ties to the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, citing files from FARC computers seized in the March 1 Colombian military raid on a guerilla camp in Ecuador. Debate has raged over the authenticity of the files, while Chávez has publicly distanced himself from the FARC since the files became public. “We have been in touch with the Venezuelan government, and they have been cooperating with us,” said Moreno-Ocampo,. “The Venezuelans promised to provide all the information they have.” (NYT, Aug. 16)

See our last post on Colombia and the FARC.