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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 November, 2004, 04:00 GMT
Colombia 'foiled attempt on Bush'
By Jeremy McDermott
BBC, Colombia

George W Bush and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe
There was tight security around the Bush visit
The largest guerrilla group in Colombia ordered an assassination attempt on US President George W Bush during a recent visit there, a senior official says.

Colombian Defence Minister Jorge Alberto Uribe said Mr Bush was targeted in the city of Cartagena last Monday.

Informers and other intelligence sources revealed the attempt, he said.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have long accused the US of meddling in the country's 40-year civil war.

The Farc's seven-man ruling body ordered guerrilla units to make an attempt on Mr Bush's life, Mr Uribe said.

Long list of reasons

The Colombian authorities insisted that the attempt was thwarted by the heavy security net thrown up around the US president which, apart from his own secret service details, included 15,000 members of the Colombian security forces.

The Farc have a long list of reasons for wanting Mr Bush dead, most pressing is the fact that Washington provides over $600m in mainly military aid to Bogota and supplies intelligence from US listening stations, satellites and spy planes that are focused on Colombia.

Another reason is the issue of extradition.

The US has indicted much of the Farc high command on drugs trafficking charges and two senior Farc commanders in prison seem set to sent to face American justice.

The allegation that the guerrillas would even consider killing the most powerful and heavily protected man on Earth suggests that US involvement in Colombia is so deep that the rebels may feel they have very little to lose.

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