FARC computer reveals more South American ties

Miami Herald:

New documents a Colombian government official says were retrieved from the computer of slain guerrilla leader Raúl Reyes show FARC's ties in Latin America may be more widespread than previously reported.

Some of the documents, obtained by The Miami Herald, indicate that a leading member of Ecuador's constitutional assembly, charged with reshaping that country's political landscape, may have been a longtime supporter of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

María Augusta Calle -- also the head of Venezuela's Telesur TV network in Ecuador and a supporter of President Hugo Chávez -- let the rebels use her bank account for at least one transaction and helped promote their ideas through another news agency she directs, the Colombian offical said.

In two e-mails dated June and July 2006, a woman who signs as ''Alicia'' corresponds with someone she calls ''friend'' in one of her e-mails and ''Darío'' in the other. She talks about personal matters, current affairs and media strategies.

According to the Colombian official -- who requested anonymity as a condition to discuss the documents -- ''Alicia'' is a code name for Calle and the letters were intended for Reyes, the FARC's spokesman and primary peace negotiator who was killed March 1 in a Colombian military raid of a rebel hideout in Ecuador.

In one of the newly disclosed e-mails, ''Alicia'' talks about her ties to the Venezuelan embassy in Quito. She says she is hopeful she will soon get a job with the Venezuelans and offers to broker communications between the rebels and the embassy.

Calle -- whose résumé says is a sociologist and journalist -- was appointed head of the Ecuadorean division of the Chávez-supported Telesur network sometime in 2007.


In the last month, the Ecuadorean press has mentioned Calle, elected to the Constitutional Assembly in 2007, as an alleged FARC supporter. At the end of March, Newsmagazine Vistazo published photos of Calle with FARC leader Rodrigo Granda; Reyes' daughter, Lidia Devia; and Nubia Calderón, alias ''Esperanza,'' the FARC's representative in Ecuador.

The assembly member, who calls herself ''a leftist journalist,'' has denied having ties to the FARC. She has said that she was photographed with FARC members while doing her work.

If confirmed, Calle's links would be yet another indication that the rebels' tentacles have spread far across the Colombian border and reached various sectors of Ecuador.


The Colombian official pointed to another of the documents obtained by The Miami Herald as an indication that ''Alicia'' and Calle may be the same person. In that e-mail, under the headline ''An article by Alicia,'' an unidentified sender pasted an opinion column signed by ``María Augusta Calle, ALTERCOM.''

ALTERCOM -- www.altercom.org -- is an Ecuadorean news agency that promotes itself as ''an agency of alternative information.'' Calle is a former director and current editorial board member of the agency.

One of the e-mails talks at length about the role of ALTERCOM in the rebels' media strategy.


Calle also is president of the Constitutional Assembly's commission ''Sovereignty, International Relations and Integration,'' which, she said, recently finished drafting an article that will ban the presence of foreign military bases on Ecuadorean soil.


Ecuador is looking very dirty. Its associations with the narco terrorist are getting harder to deny. Now, it appears that an agent for FARC in the Ecuador government was responsible for the US losing its basing rights in the area. Ecuador appears to be offering aid an comfort of Colombia's enemy and to enemies of the US. We should treat Ecuador accordingly if it does not change it policies.

This post discusses improvised mortar fire this weekend from Ecuador into Colombia.


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