Ecuador president speaks against US intel. role
Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has warned that recent revelations about the role of US intelligence in a 2008 Colombian attack on rebel leaders on Ecuadoran soil could threaten regional peace efforts.
The warning came on Monday following a report published byThe Washington Post that a covert Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) program had helped Colombian forces kill at least two dozen leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
According to the report, Colombian forces killed the rebel group’s number two, Raul Reyes, in March 2008, while he was in a FARC-operated jungle camp in neighboring Ecuador, by using a US-made smart bomb. An additional 23 people were also killed in the attack.
Following the incident, Ecuador temporarily broke diplomatic relations with its neighbor, Colombia.
Correa wrote on his Twitter account wondering if these “very serious revelations” by the newspaper and other recent disagreements between his government and Washington were simply coincidence.
The Ecuadoran president also speculated that the report was an attempt to affect his country’s relations with the United States and Colombia and “above all, the peace process” which is ongoing between the Colombian government and FARC.
“At this point, I don’t believe in ‘coincidences.’ Colombia and the international extreme right are capable of anything!” Correa wrote on Twitter.
The report also revealed that the covert program was authorized by President George W. Bush around the year 2000 and has continued under his successor President Barack Obama.
Washington provided Colombia with Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment that can be used to transform regular munitions into so-called smart bombs, according to the report.
In addition, it was also revealed that the US National Security Agency (NSA) provided “substantial eavesdropping help” to the Colombian government.
The 2008 Colombian attack carried out on Ecuadoran soil triggered a diplomatic crisis between the two neighbors, with Ecuador suspecting the attack was orchestrated with the help of Washington, despite denial from Colombian authorities. Relations between Colombia and Ecuador were fully restored in 2011.