INTERPOL Clarifies it Never Determined Authenticity of Laptops that Implicate Venezuela

Interpol representatives told Ecuadorian Presidential Adviser Fernando Bustamante that its investigation of laptop computers which Colombia claims belonged to the FARC “does not determine if the computers provided were found in the guerrilla camp of the FARC during the incursion on March 1st."
Ecuadorian Presidential Advisor Fernando Bustamante met with INTERPOL in New York last week, during which INTERPOL confirmed that the Colombian government's assertion that the computer files it has belonged to the FARC had not been proven.

Mérida, June 12, 2008 (– Representatives of the International Police Organization (Interpol) told Ecuadorian Presidential Adviser Fernando Bustamante in a meeting last week that its investigation of laptop computers which Colombia claims belonged to the FARC “does not determine if the computers provided were found in the guerrilla camp of the FARC during the incursion on March 1st, if they effectively belonged to Raúl Reyes, and even less so their contents,” according to a recent missive released by the Ecuadorian Foreign Relations Ministry.

Bustamante, the chief advisor to Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, met with INTERPOL representatives last Tuesday during a United Nations conference in New York. At the meeting, INTERPOL “confirmed that their forensic informational analysis does not imply the validity or the exactitude of the user files that [the computers] contain,” the Ecuadorian government disclosed.

Today, Venezuela’s Vice-President, Ramón Carrizalez, echoed Bustamante’s evaluation when he said about the computer files, “This is an information that no serious person can validate. Anyone who knows how to read and write and who has some common sense will notice that these are proofs that cannot be used anywhere in the world.”

The Colombian government claims the files prove that Venezuela financed the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and that Ecuador provided refuge for the insurgents. Colombia also claims to have found the computers in the wreckage of a FARC camp inside Ecuador that the Colombian armed forces bombarded last March 1st, killing FARC second-in-command Raúl Reyes, to whom Colombia says the computers belonged.

INTERPOL clarified to Bustamante that the report was an act of “independent technical assistance” and that it only confirmed that after March 3rd, Colombia complied with international standards for the treatment of evidence. Proper handling of the evidence could not be determined for the period between the attack and March 3rd.

“Between March 1st and 3rd… there are no indications that user files have been created, modified, or eliminated, but neither is there evidence that demonstrates that this has not been done,” INTERPOL told Bustamante.

Based on this clarification, the Ecuadorian government reiterated Tuesday its “position of not granting any legal validity to the information found in the computers supposedly belonging to Raúl Reyes.” Ecuadorian Foreign Relations Minister María Isabel Salvador previously set this policy in mid-May when the INTERPOL report was first released.

The Ecuadorian government also reiterated its concern over Colombia’s manipulation of the results of INTERPOL’s report to make it look like the report proved the accusations against Venezuela and Ecuador, a falsity that has been perpetuated by the mainstream international media.

Bustamante suggested that Ecuador should have been allowed to participate in the investigation, to which the INTERPOL delegates replied that Ronald Noble, the General Secretary of INTERPOL, would be willing to visit Ecuador to discuss the details of the report.

Meanwhile, President Correa echoed Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s recent call for the liberation of all FARC hostages yesterday after meeting with the father of a Colombian soldier who has been held prisoner by the FARC for 10 years.

Correa also asserted that Ecuador “is not going to ask anybody’s permission [to continue with] the humanitarian action that is incomplete,” referring to the process of humanitarian hostage releases underway before Colombia’s March 1st attack, which ended the humanitarian exchange.

FARC: Uribe is Planning to Assassinate Chavez

FARC leader Iván Márquez, who had met with Chávez to discuss hostage release last year, alleged in a communiqué last weekend that President Uribe “attempted and continues trying to kill” Chávez and Correa with the help of the United States.

The Colombian Department of Security Administration (DAS) has already infiltrated Caracas with 100 paramilitary forces to assassinate Chávez, and a similar plan exists for Correa, Márquez alleged.

In the statement, Márquez also railed that the laptops examined by INTERPOL are fake and used by Uribe to threaten neighbors and to cover up the political scandal in Colombia in which Uribe allies have recently been convicted of contracting paramilitaries to perform politically motivated assassinations.

Ecuador and Colombia expressed their willingness to renew diplomatic relations last Friday with arbitration by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s Carter Center, which commented that both presidents were open to “the possibility of immediately re-establishing diplomatic relations between both governments without preconditions.”