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BRIEF

ETA-FARC Ties Exposed

COLOMBIA / 9 MAR 2011 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN
  • Interpol has issued a red alert regarding the capture of Victor Ramon Vargas Salazar, a member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC), reports Spanish newspaper El Pais. Salazar is accused of acting as the liaison between the FARC and the armed Basque nationalist group known as ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna.) Vargas was indicted in 2010 by Spain's Supreme Court, along with six other ETA members, charged with possesion of explosives and conspiracy to commit murder. Salazar allegedly traveled to Spain on two separate occasions during 2000 to keep an eye on the Colombian Embassy while ex-President Andres Pastrana was abroad, and reportedly received support in collecting intelligence from ETA members. Salazar is also accused of being involved in a plot to murder Pastrana and, later on, President Alvaro Uribe. According to Semana, ties between the ETA and the FARC date from 1993 when they first made contact in Cuba; ETA also reportedly trained the FARC in making and using explosive devices, and exchanging their procedures.
  • Amid competing allegations from ex-paramilitaries and government officials regarding the demobilizating of fake paramilitary blocs during President Uribe's peace process from 2003 to 2006, El Espectador releases another U.S. embassy cable via WikiLeaks, which may add more fuel to the scandal. In the cable, the former Minister of Interior, Sabas Pretelt, accuses then-Commissioner of Peace, Luis Carlos Restrepo, of including over 12,000 more demobilized paramilitaries in the peace proccess than the government had originally planned. Restrepo is currently facing the possibility of an investigation on the failings of the peace process, and may soon be cited to testify by the Attorney General's office, reports RCN Radio.
  • Reuters has a dispatch about the Mexican economy, reporting that tourism is so far the industry most affected by the war between the drug trafficking organizations and the state. Tourism is one of the main sources of income for several Mexican cities like Cancun and Acapulco, both experiencing an uptick in violent crime. Despite the violence investors are apparently still interested in directing money to Mexican projects. According to Reuters' figures, 2010 reported $11.9 billion dollars in revenue from tourism, a 5 percent increase from 2009, but significantly lower comparing to 2008’s $13.3 billion.
  • Amnesty International (AI) released a statement about gender-related violence in Guatemala. Of the total murders registered in the country in 2010, 685 were women, according to AI. 
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