Ecuadorian Colonel On Trial For Alleged Complicity With FARC

By Dialogo
April 01, 2009

An Ecuadorian army colonel is being prosecuted for alleged collusion with the Colombian FARC guerrillas, which may be considered a grave offense against national security, the TV channel Teleamazonas revealed. They noted that Colonel José Hidalgo has been prosecuted in the military court since May 2007 for alleged complicity with the FARC, but has not been sentenced. Ecuadorian Defense Minister Javier Ponce told Teleamazonas that the attitude of this officer with the Colombian guerrillas "is very, very serious" and added that "it can be considered an attack on national security." "It is an issue that cannot be generalized," the official said, and stressed that "Lt. Col. Hidalgo does not really understand the principles and guidelines of both the Armed Forces and the national government in the case of confrontations with irregular groups." Citing an intelligence report, Teleamazonas said that Hidalgo met, on two occasions between March and April 2007, with a FARC guerrilla identified as 'Commander Marlene' on the Ecuadorian side of the Amazonian border with Colombia. They added that a military patrol found 15 armed rebels under the command of 'Marlene,' who asked to telephone the colonel to coordinate a meeting, which occurred two hours later. For this event there were no arrests. Quito’s diplomatic relations with Bogota were broken off after the Colombian military attack on an underground FARC camp in Ecuadorian territory on March 1 that left 25 dead, including the rebel leader Raúl Reyes. Ecuador has set five terms for Colombia for the restoration of diplomatic ties, among them to cease linking Ecuador with the FARC.