Page last updated at 19:32 GMT, Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Venezuela's Chavez 'held secret talks with Farc rebel'

Venezuela"s President Hugo Chavez (file image from 25/02/2010)
Hugo Chavez said the meeting was held at dawn

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has said that he once held secret talks with a top leader of Colombian rebel group Farc.

Mr Chavez said he met Raul Reyes, later killed in a Colombian military raid, at the request of the country's president.

But a former Colombian peace negotiator has denied Mr Chavez's claims that any meeting was asked for by then-president Andres Pastrana.

Mr Chavez said the meeting was held at his presidential residence in Caracas.

"I once met Raul Reyes, in private and in secret," Mr Chavez said, according to Colombian and Spanish media reports.

"We spoke at dawn, because [former Colombian President] Andres Pastrana asked me to, he asked me to several times," he added.

Link claims

Former Colombian peace negotiator Camilo Gomez denied the claims, saying that Mr Chavez "is not being faithful to the truth".

Senior Farc commander Raul Reyes, file picture
Reyes was killed during a military operation

He said that though Mr Chavez had requested talks with Farc, no official authorisation or approval had ever been given.

Raul Reyes, considered the second highest person within the Farc hierarchy, was killed by the Colombian military during an operation in March 2008.

There have long been allegations of links between Farc and Mr Chavez's left-wing government in Venezuela.

The Venezuelan president's comments came after the country angrily dismissed allegations made by a Spanish judge that the Venezuelan government assisted both Basque separatist group Eta and Farc, which plotted to kill Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe.

The largest of Colombia's rebel groups, Farc was founded in 1964 and has mounted a long-running insurgency aimed at toppling the Colombian government and establishing a Marxist-style state.

In 2008 a major diplomatic dispute arose after Colombia accused Venezuela of running arms to Farc. Mr Chavez has strenuously denied any such links.

Print Sponsor

Venezuela 'helped Eta and Farc'
01 Mar 10 |  Europe
Key Eta leader arrested in France
28 Feb 10 |  Europe
Oldest insurgent force marches on
27 May 09 |  Americas
Chavez turns up heat on Colombia
06 Aug 09 |  Americas
Country profile: Venezuela
12 Jun 12 |  Country profiles
Profiles: Colombia's armed groups
23 Dec 09 |  Americas

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

The Scotsman Hunt for Basque rebels after policeman shot and killed - 2 hrs ago
Crikey Media What are 30,000 Cuban advisers doing in Venezuela? - 3 hrs ago
NewsMax.comChavez Held Talks With Colombian Rebels - 25 hrs ago
Houston Chronicle Chavez defends ETA suspects wanted in Spain - 42 hrs ago
Reuters India Chavez denies Venezuela ETA suspects are terrorists - 48 hrs ago
* May require registration

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific