Colombian Paramilitary Threaten Venezuela
Caracas.- Having emerged in the context of an over 50-year old war, paramilitarism crossed the borders of Colombia and is currently a main worry for Venezuelan authorities.
The detention in 2004 of a group of paramilitaries near Caracas who were planning to assassinate President Hugo Chavez showed the political intention of the heirs of the so-called United Self-Defenses of Colombia.
Situation complicates because it is an open secret, denounced at the National Assembly (Parliament), that Colombian paramilitary groups are taking part in drug trafficking from Colombia to the United States through Venezuelan territory.
This element gets prominence in the context of US harassment of Chavez, whom they want to link to drug trafficking to justify a military action against Venezuela, as they did in Panama with Antonio Noriega.
A new element denounced by Chavez is that they are not only using Colombians, but also citizens from other countries called private "contractors," as they have done in Iraq and other countries.
According to Venezuelan authorities, these paramilitary forces are introduced in Venezuela by Colombian war supporting sectors backed by US private firms.
A consequence of this action was the emergence of kidnapping in the last few years, a practice spreading from states bordering Colombia to other regions of Venezuela (there were 382 cases registered at the end of 2007), mostly in border areas.
Actions against Chavez are a well-defined tactic of the opposition, in a year of elections of governors and majors, which Chavez himself has described as essential for the future of the process of changes he has been leading since 1998.
Source: Prensa Latina