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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ecuador President Rafael Correa calls FARC video a 'sham'

The newly released footage shows a Colombian rebel commander discussing contributing money to Correa's 2006 election campaign.
Associated Press
July 19, 2009

Quito, Ecuador -- Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa on Saturday dismissed as a "sham" a newly released video in which a Colombian rebel commander discusses contributing money to Correa's 2006 election campaign.

The video, whose existence was revealed by the Associated Press on Friday, appears to lend credibility to allegations that the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia contributed to the Correa campaign.

In his weekly Saturday radio program, Correa said he had "nothing to do with the FARC," and he said the video's release was part of a campaign by the political right to destabilize his government.

"It's all a sham to damage the image of the country and the image of the government," he said.

Correa said that a government-backed commission investigating Colombia's March 2008 attack on a FARC camp just inside Ecuador should also analyze what he termed "the idiocy" of allegations that rebels contributed to his presidential campaign. He said the commission could report "if we have ever had any contact with the FARC."

"I personally don't know anyone in the FARC," Correa said.

The video, found by police on the computer of an alleged rebel, shows the FARC's No. 2 commander, Jorge Briceno, reading from the deathbed manifesto of the rebels' founding leader, Pedro Antonio Marin, also known as Manuel Marulanda, who died March 26, 2008. The manifesto laments that Colombian troops had seized electronic documents that compromised the rebels and their foreign friends -- namely, Correa and President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

Correa has accused Colombia of fabricating the documents, though an inquiry by the global police agency Interpol determined they were not altered.

Ecuador broke diplomatic ties with Colombia over the raid last year, in which a top FARC leader, Raul Reyes, was slain along with 24 others.

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