(Wall Street Journal)
Whenever we think back to summer camp, memories of cookouts and songs around the piano spring to mind. If Colombian officials are to be believed, somebody in Venezuela seems to have had the same idea.
Yesterday, the Colombian government presented evidence that the narcoterrorist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, have what amounts to "summer camps" on the Venezuelan side of their common border. In a presentation to the Organization of American States, Colombian Ambassador Luis Alfonso Hoyos charged that Venezuelan officials "tolerate the presence of these groups" and "don't carry out actions against them."
On predictable cue, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez reacted by breaking off diplomatic relations with Bogotá, ordering a "maximum alert" and suggesting it was all part of an American plot. Yet this wouldn't be the first time Caracas has been credibly suspected of helping terrorists. In March, a Spanish judge indicted a Venezuelan government official for serving as a go-between for the FARC and the Basque terrorist group ETA in a coordinated effort to assassinate former Colombian President Andres Pastrana.
Yesterday, Mr. Hoyos named farms and haciendas inside Venezuela where some 1,500 rebels "can relax, put on weight and plan attacks." The Ambassador also promised that he was ready to provide satellite images, "precise coordinates, [and] overwhelming data." Much of the intelligence seems to have come from FARC deserters who testified about the group's Venezuelan presence.
The camps are no idle threat to Colombia. The FARC ranks as one of the most bloodthirsty of terrorist outfits, with specialties in kidnapping and drug trafficking and ties to terrorist groups world-wide. A too-common view of Comrade Chávez is that he is more of a colorful buffoon than a genuine menace. Yesterday's presentation should lay that myth to rest.
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