South America’s Pakistan

Venezuela’s support for left-wing terrorism is an international problem

Colombia conducts a raid against FARC, radical left-wing guerillas, holed out in neighbouring Equador. Equador lies to the South-west of Colombia. The raid is successful and several FARC guerillas, including a member of its senior leadership.Map:NYT

Equador protests. But that’s not all. Venezuela does too. In fact, Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez cries foul before Equador does. He doesn’t stop there. He sends ten infantry battalion, including tank units to the border with Colombia. But here’s the thing—Venezuela doesn’t even share a border with the offended Equador. In fact, Venezuela lies to the North-east of Colombia.

Now, it was well known that Mr Chavez was extending “moral, diplomatic and political support” to the FARC guerillas for a long time. But Colombian forces seized a laptop during their recent raid that should do more than merely embarrass the Venezuelan president.

What may really have upset Mr. Chávez is the capture of Reyes’s laptop. According to Colombia’s top police official, General Oscar Naranjo, the computer contains evidence supporting the claim that the FARC is working with Mr. Chávez. General Naranjo said Monday that Reyes’s laptop records showed that Venezuela may have paid $300 million to the FARC in exchange for its recent release of six civilian hostages. Mr. Chávez had spun those releases as a triumph of his personal mediation.

General Naranjo said the laptop also contains documents showing that the FARC was seeking to buy 50 kilos of uranium, and the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo has reported that the records revealed the sale of 700 kilograms of cocaine valued at $1.5 million. The general added that the military found a thank-you note from Mr. Chávez to the FARC for some $150,000 that the rebels had sent him when he was in prison for his attempted coup d’etat in 1992. [WSJ]

State-sponsored terrorism, backed by high oil & gas prices, lives on. Leave the familiar parallel with Pakistan aside: the question is how long is it before international left-wing terrorists develop the international links, infrastructure and capabilities, like their jihadi counterparts?

India’s foreign aid budget

More for Bhutan and Afghanistan, less for ‘other developing countries’

Here is a chart showing outlays for ‘technical and economic cooperation with other countries and advances to foreign governments’, allocated to the foreign ministry.

There are new allocations for Afghanistan, and an increase in allocations for Bhutan. There’s a modest increase for Sri Lanka and Africa. But allocations for ‘other developing countries’ (ODC in the chart above) have been cut. India appeared to have disbursed less that what was budgeted for Myanmar, and this year’s allocations are lower. There was an unplanned increase in assistance to Bangladesh last year—quite likely due to emergency assistance for flood relief—but the outlay this year is almost the same.