In a significantly damning declaration against the socialist government of Venezuela, two soldiers who had been kidnapped in early November by the Marxist terrorist group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) claim the terrorists had hoped to smuggle their hostages into Venezuela to avoid military retribution.
In a press conference in the Colombian capital, Bogotá, soldiers Jonathan Díaz and César Rivera detailed the horror of being kidnapped by the terrorist group, which made headlines in the event for not only capturing a number of troops, but holding a general hostage. The kidnapping suspended peace talks between Bogotá and the FARC leadership, receiving sanctuary in state sponsor of terrorism Cuba, but said talks resumed upon the release of the soldiers. The soldiers’ declarations make clear that Cuba is not the only terror-affiliated state which Colombian authorities should be wary of.
“Their goal was to get me out of here, to Colombia,” Díaz explained in the press conference. “Get me to Venezuela, but thank God and my military, we stayed in those parts and it was time to return.” He also spoke of “very long walks” that appeared to be leading them closer to Venezuela. The soldiers were captured near the Colombia-Venezuela border.
Rivera discussed also the release of several videos featuring the captured soldiers in which they called for an end to the military’s operations against the FARC: “Well, imagine: behind the camera were 20 guerrilleros, and they just wanted us to say good things about them, so they look good in front of the country.” Díaz was also witness to the murder of one of his fellow soldiers, noting that the soldier, who was not named, struggled after initially being shot before a FARC terrorist shot him again, this time in the head.
The Venezuela connection could seriously implicate the regime of President Nicolás Maduro in aiding and abetting terrorist activity in Colombia. Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chávez, was a known affiliate of the FARC, and the group appears to feel so comfortable in the country still that they hosted a 50th anniversary celebration in Caracas last May. A New York Times report from 2011 also suggests that Chávez attempted to use FARC terrorists to kill or otherwise do away with opposition figures within the country. Venezuela has also been accused of harboring Marxist terrorists from other parts of the world; in May, a fugitive terrorist from the Basque ETA group was found living openly in the state of Anzoátegui and arrested after being identified with his wife in a shopping mall.