FARC Guerrilla with Alleged ETA Ties Is Arrested in Colombia
By Dialogo April 12, 2011
The Colombian authorities have arrested Víctor Ramón Vargas Salazar, a noted member of the FARC guerrilla group and allegedly linked to the armed Basque separatist organization ETA, according to a press release issued on 8 April.
The Spanish authorities had issued a red notice seeking Vargas’s arrest on account of the ties he is said to have with ETA, while he is charged in Colombia with aggravated criminal conspiracy for purposes of drug trafficking, the announcement indicated.
Vargas was arrested in the town of Caucasia, department of Antioquia (in northwestern Colombia), according to the press release, which described Vargas, known by the aliases of Chato and Juancho, as a member of the support network of the FARC’s Caribbean bloc.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, a communist group) is the country’s chief guerrilla group with forty-six years of armed struggle against the Colombian state and currently has around eight thousand fighters, according to the Army.
The statement also noted that Vargas “allegedly coordinated attacks in Spain with ETA, against current (Colombian) president Juan Manuel Santos and former presidents Álvaro Uribe (2002-2010) and Andrés Pastrana (1998-2002).”
In addition, it affirmed that the noted guerrilla supplied the FARC’s Caribbean bloc with weapons, ammunition, and false documents and was also responsible for coordinating the illegal exploitation of gold mines in the southern part of (the department of) Bolívar (on the Caribbean coast), an activity that brought in more than two billion pesos (one million dollars, at current exchange rates).
According to the statement issued by the authorities, that money represents the second-largest source of financing for that FARC bloc.
The announcement of the arrest of this noted Colombian guerrilla with alleged ETA ties took place on the eve of Monday’s start of a two-day official visit to Spain by President Santos.