In a combined operation between Colombian intelligence and the Venezuelan authorities, Chávez’ government captured Julián Conrado, the leader of the FARC, and speeded up the procedures for his deportation and delivery to the genocidal Colombian regime. The impact from handing over Joaquín Pérez Becerra little more than a month ago was still reverberating, when a new operation in pursuit of Colombian fighters was being carried out, this time with the joint participation of the intelligence services of both countries fully on Venezuelan territory. But this time, the aggravating circumstance was added of the fact that Santos’ government is studying the possibility of extraditing Julián Conrado to the US, once he is deported from Venezuela, in view of the US government’s extradition request.
“Thanks to President Chávez for the capture of alias Julián Conrado,” Santos informed the Venezuelan leader the very day of the capture, to which Chávez himself replied from a press conference that he was sharing with former President Lula: “We are carrying out our obligation, and we will continue doing so…. The corresponding procedures have already been initiated to put him at the disposal of the legal system of that country.” Not without exaggerating, Santos has made it clear that the fight against the Colombian combatants “is proceeding with everything and everywhere,” thanks to the collaboration of Chávez’ government, which is contributing to surrounding and capturing them, since Venezuela is joining Colombia’s “security policy.” And for that reason, Chávez emphasized that handing over Julián Conrado was being treated as an “affair of state.”
So much speed in the wave of handing over Colombian guerrillas and militants has not ceased to be surprising from someone who talks about anti-imperialism every day, but does not hesitate for a second to hand over militants, who seek to take refuge in Venezuela, so they will languish in Colombian jails. But such swiftness is at the core of the agreements signed in August last year in Cartagena regarding intelligence between the governments of Venezuela and Colombia, that allows the DAS itself to be able to operate in Venezuela, to point out to Chávez’ government where Colombian militants are living or taking shelter. To many, the operations of Plan Cóndor have come to mind.
Julián Conrado was a member of the Unión Patriótica in the Caribbean region, and a member of the so-called “Thematic Committee” of the FARC in the failed “peace conversations” between 1998 and 2002 with the government of Andrés Pastrana in the region of San Vicente del Caguán. The Santos regime, continuing to use paramilitaries, has pursued him with several arrest warrants “for crimes like trafficking and transport of narcotics, extortion and damages with terrorist aims.” Once again, the Santos government indicated his location to Chávez, who “did not hesitate” for a second.
Colombia continues to be a country where attacks against workers’, campesinos’, students’ and popular struggles, organizations and militants take place with impunity; it continues to be one of the countries with the highest number of assassinations of union leaders internationally, and is also the one with the highest number of political prisoners on the continent. Thousands of workers’, campesinos’, students’ and people’s militants are languishing in its jails, and they need the most fundamental principle of internationalist solidarity, not only from all men and women who consider themselves revolutionaries, but from any minimally consistent democrat.
That is why we categorically repudiate the handing over of Colombian social fighters, whose only fate will be to languish in the jails, if they are not murdered on the way. We demand the immediate release of Julián Conrado, and that he not be deported to Colombia, at the same time that we demand his right to reside freely in Venezuela, if that is his wish, with all his political and democratic rights guaranteed! We demand the release of all the workers, campesinos and social and popular fighters of Colombia. Down with Chávez’ submissive collaboration with Santos’ government!
June 9, 2011