HomeNewsBriefVenezuela Govt Organizing FARC Leader’s Medical Treatment: Lawmakers
BRIEF

Venezuela Govt Organizing FARC Leader’s Medical Treatment: Lawmakers

ALFONSO CANO / 23 SEP 2011 BY GEOFFREY RAMSEY EN

Three Venezuelan congressmen are claiming that a hospital close to the Colombian border has prepared a sick room for FARC commander Guillermo Leon Saenz, alias “Alfonso Cano.”

As the Caracas-based El Universal reports, three congressmen from the Venezuelan border state of Tachira are expressing alarm over an apparent federal intervention at the Central Hospital in the capital city of San Cristobal. Leomagno Flores, Abelardo Diaz and Homero Ruiz told the Venezuelan daily that they had reason to believe the hospital had been taken over by Ministry of Health officials.

“We have reliable information that a room in Central Hospital is being prepared to host a senior leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which could be Alfonso Cano,” Flores said. He also claimed that federal officials had cleared the hospital of several key employees in an effort to keep the move a secret. According to Flores, “They not only removed the police, they removed hospital personnel with ties to the regional government, because they are trying to run a hidden operation.”

Flores alleged that the FARC commander may be in need of urgent medical care, noting that the hospital is the site of government-provided advanced medical technology.

The lawmakers’ claim seems too sensational to be true. For one thing, if the Venezuelan government were going to risk such a blow to its recently-mended relations with neighboring Colombia, they would likely have taken greater care to hide it.

Additionally, Cano was most recently reported to be hiding out in the mountains Cauca and Huila provinces, in the center-west of the country, where he allegedly barely managed to escape a bomb raid on his camp in July. Considering his status as Colombia’s most wanted criminal, it is improbable that he would have been able to travel undetected all the way across the country to the Venezuelan border.

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