AFP. 1 February 2002. Former intelligence chief says Chavez backed
Colombian rebels.

BOGOTA -- Venezuela's former intelligence chief on Friday denounced
President Hugo Chavez for his alleged support for Marxist guerrillas
seeking to topple the government of neighbouring Colombia.

Colonel Jesus Urdaneta, a former friend and military colleague of
Chavez, said he had received orders from Chavez to help the Marxist
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Latin America's oldest
and largest insurgency.

"He always backed the guerrillas and said they were not enemies of
Venezuela. But for us patriots who opposed him, his views were treachery
to his own country," Urdaneta told Colombia's Radio Caracol network.

He said he possessed documentary proof showing the government offering
money, fuel, and others forms of support to the rebels.

On one occasion Chavez offered 300,000 dollars to the rebels but
Urdaneta said he managed to stop the transfer.

He also alleged that Chavez was well-informed of clandestine military
contacts between rebel forces and the Venezuelan military.

"I have a lot of proof about that," he said.

The allegations emerged with the publication Wednesday by a Caracas
daily El Universal of a document dated August 10, 1999 and signed by
Ramon Rodriguez Chacin, Chavez's special envoy to Colombia's rebels,
detailing an agreement to provide medical and other support for the

Rodriguez Chacin, who on Thursday was sworn in as Venezuela's Minister
of Justice and of the Interior, denied having signed the document.

On Thursday, Colombian Air Force commander Hector Velasco said a
Venezuelan plane was intercepted over Colombian airspace with a cargo of
ammunition for the rebels.

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Barry Stoller

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