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Venezuela 'helped Eta and Farc plot against Uribe'

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe
Farc allegedly asked Eta for help in trying to kill Alvaro Uribe

A Spanish judge has accused the Venezuelan government of assisting two rebel groups which plotted to kill Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe.

Judge Eloy Velasco charged six members of Basque separatist group Eta and seven members of Colombian rebel group Farc with various offences.

He said he believed Farc had asked for Eta's help in a plot to kill Colombian officials in Spain, including Mr Uribe.

He said the two groups benefited from "Venezuelan government co-operation".

In a 26-page indictment Mr Velasco said an investigation launched in 2008 has turned up evidence "that demonstrates Venezuelan governmental co-operation in the illicit collaboration between Farc and Eta".

Both groups are listed as terrorist organisations by the US and EU.

Bomb courses

The judge said Eta and Farc had been collaborating since 1993, and accused Arturo Cubillas Fontan of being a key link.

Mr Fontan lives in Venezuela and has held a job in the government of President Hugo Chavez - and may still have one - the judge wrote.

He is also a key member of Eta, running its operations in Venezuela and the region, Mr Velasco's indictment said.

It said Mr Fontan "co-ordinated relations between Farc and Eta and the participation of Eta members in courses on explosives and urban guerrilla warfare".

The judge charged Mr Fontan, along with two Farc members, Edgar Gustavo Navarro Morales and Victor Ramon Vargas Salazar, with conspiracy to commit terrorist murders.

His investigation found that Farc members travelled to Spain to try to kill former Colombian President Andres Pastrana and to stage an attack on the Colombian embassy.

A Farc member reported that "it would not be difficult to carry out an attack on those two targets as long as they could count on the help of Eta", the indictment said.

Later the target list was allegedly expanded to include Mr Uribe and other Colombian officials.

Left-wing ideology

The investigation was launched after links to Spain came to light when a computer used by Farc leader Raul Reyes was seized during a Colombian military raid on a Farc camp in Ecuador in March 2008.

Both Eta and Farc claim to be rooted in left-wing ideology.

Eta has been blamed for more than 820 deaths during its 41-year campaign for an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain.

Farc has been fighting even longer, mounting a major insurgency intended to topple the Colombian government and establish a Marxist-style state.

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

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



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Spain warns Eta 'a live threat'
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Chavez turns up heat on Colombia
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Country profile: Venezuela
12 Jun 12 |  Country profiles
Who are Eta?
17 Nov 08 |  Europe
Profiles: Colombia's armed groups
23 Dec 09 |  Americas

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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
AFP via Yahoo! Spain accuses Venezuela over assassination plot - 16 hrs ago
Bangkok PostSpain accuses Venezuela over plot to kill Uribe - 23 hrs ago
Houston Chronicle Spanish judge accuses Venezuela of links to rebels - 25 hrs ago
FOXNews.com Spanish Judge Accuses Venezuela of Rebel Links - 26 hrs ago
Citizen.co.za Spain accuses 13 of plot 'to kill Colombian leader' - 26 hrs ago
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