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Terrorism & Security

Venezuela plotted to kill Colombia president, Spain judge says

A Spanish judge on Monday charged that Venezuela plotted to kill Colombia President Álvaro Uribe, collaborating with rebel groups ETA and FARC to kill other political officials as well.

By Correspondent / March 2, 2010

Colombia's president, Álvaro Uribe (l.), shook hands with Venezuela's president, Hugo Chávez (r.), as the Dominican Republic's president, Leonel Fernandez, looked on during the Rio Group Summit in Santo Domingo, in this March 2008 file photo.

Miraflores Press Office/AP/File

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A diplomatic row has erupted between Spain and Venezuela after a Spanish judge accused officials in Caracas of plotting with rebel groups to kill Colombian President Álvaro Uribe and other political officials.

Spanish National Court Judge Eloy Velasco charged on Monday that the government of Hugo Chávez had been working as an intermediary between the Basque separatist group ETA and the Colombian guerrilla group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The groups were allegedly plotting against prominent political figures living in or traveling through Spain. Venezuelan officials have dismissed these allegations as “biased and unfounded.”

Spanish officials ordered that 12 supposed members of ETA and FARC stand trial for conspiracy to commit murder and conduct terrorist acts, reports The Wall Street Journal.

"There is evidence … showing the cooperation of the Venezuelan government in the illegal collaboration between FARC and ETA," according to the indictment....

The indictments also bring fresh attention to Spain's National Court, whose judges act on their own investigations and are independent from Spain's executive and legislative branches. Some judges have gained international attention, and criticism, for their handling of global cases involving other governments, including an investigation into allegations of US torture at Guantanamo Bay.

Although Mr. Chávez has yet to comment on the allegations, throughout Caracas the charges have been met with widespread contempt. “We do not house guerrillas, nor do we have a pact with guerrillas,” said Venezuelan Congressman Hayden Pirela in an article by Iran’s Press TV.

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