CARACAS, Tuesday August 03, 2010 | Update
Venezuelan National Guard checkpoint at Paraguachón in Zulia state (Photo: Reuters)
US Senator Richard Lugar said he is certain that Venezuela is harboring the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in its territory and praised the work of outgoing Colombian President Álvaro Uribe.
"I think the case was already made and that is precisely what is happening, that Venezuela is harboring FARC members who remain a potential threat to the integrity of Colombia,'' said the Republican leader of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, AP reported.
"I think the government of President Uribe has tried the FARC courageously and successfully, and it is understandable that it is concerned that a significant number of guerrilla troops may be living across the border in Venezuela safely and openly," said the lawmaker.
Lugar made the comments after a special session of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in which 14 of its 17 members agreed to recommend to the plenary session of the Senate to confirm 32 nominated ambassadors, including US envoys to Colombia, Peru, Chile and Panama. Larry Palmer, the nominated ambassador to Venezuela, was not included in the list.
Lugar told reporters he was not sure why Palmer was not on the list.
After listening to Palmer during a hearing on Friday, Republican Senator Robert Menéndez voiced doubts about the ability of Palmer to act strongly enough vis-à-vis the government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.
Last month, Colombia submitted videos and photos to the OAS to report that 1,500 troops of the FARC have a camp in Venezuelan territory, 23 kilometers off the Venezuela-Colombia border.
Caracas rejected the allegations and for the first time, broke diplomatic relations with its neighbor.
02:57 PM. HEAVY RAINS. Venezuelan Executive Vice-President Elias Jaua reported that the government is designing plans to support farmers, cattlemen and peasants of the state of Mérida who have been hit by heavy rains that have caused crop losses.