VIO News Blog

July 11, 2008

President Chavez Hosts Colombia’s Uribe Today in Caracas

Presidents Chavez and Uribe meet today in Caracas to discuss bilateral relations, according to the AP. Trade between the countries reached a record $6 billion last year, but ties suffered Colombia’s deadly raid on a FARC camp in Ecuador and subsequent campaign to accuse Ecuador and Venezuela of helping the rebels. The Colombian ambassador said that those accusations will not be discussed in today’s meeting. In related news, another AP story details spying by US and Colombian forces that enabled the recent rescue of hostages held by rebels.

A Washington Post op-ed cheers that rescue, but misleads readers by presenting the accusations against Venezuela and President Chavez as though they were fact. The claim that Chavez aided the FARC has not been verified by any independent source. INTERPOL  could only determine that the evidence in question was not altered extensively after its alleged recovery. The claims surfaced after Uribe canceled humanitarian hostage talks by Chavez and resumed its militarized approach to the armed conflict. The Post op-ed deems the March 1st bombing it Ecuador “daring,” though it was a sneak attack that killed two dozen, including innocent Mexican students. The Post wrongly claims “we know” Chavez helped the FARC, but the origins and authenticity of the evidence offered by the Uribe government remains shrouded.

In economic news, the AP reports that Suriname and Guyana are considering Venezuela’s proposal to build a continent-wide natural gas pipeline. Suriname’s environment minister said the plan would bring financial gain, but he will consider long-term implications. The pipeline is designed to deliver energy security to the continent. The Financial Times looks at the auto industry in Venezuela and government measures to offset reliance on imports. The pro-free market paper sees too much “red tape.”

Finally, a Miami Herald column takes aim at Ecuador, wrongly stating that President Correa is “silencing” the media. Officials have seized the assets of a wealthy family that owns TV broadcasters for its $661 million in debt to the state Deposit Guarantee Agency (AGD) after an embezzling scandal. By selling the assets, the expect to recover only a fraction of that amount. Both the Miami Herald and the Economist claim that press freedoms in Ecuador and Venezuela have suffered under leftist leadership, but the government does not censor the opposition-controlled media in either country.

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