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WORLD HOT SPOTS => Around the World => Topic started by: Oshun_Auset on December 02, 2004, 09:42:10 AM

Title: Colombian Rebels Deny Plotting to Kill Bush
Post by: Oshun_Auset on December 02, 2004, 09:42:10 AM
Colombian Rebels Deny Plotting to Kill Bush

Thu Dec 2,12:21 AM

BOGOTA, Colombia (Reuters) - Colombian rebels on Wednesday denied government accusations they plotted to kill President Bush (news - web sites) during a visit to the port of Cartagena last week.

"The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC-EP, categorically deny the libelous accusations made by the intelligence services of the United States of America," the rebel group known by the Spanish initials FARC said in an e-mailed communique.

In fact the accusation was made by Colombian Defense Minister Jorge Alberto Uribe, who said informants and other sources had warned of a FARC plot to kill Bush on his brief visit to the historic Caribbean city on Nov. 22.

The FARC called the charge "false and reckless" and the "product of minds driven insane by pride."

The 17,000-strong FARC, fighting a 40-year guerrilla war against the state, regards the United States as an enemy for its military and financial support of the Colombian government.

Security was heavy for Bush's four-hour visit on his way back from an Asia-Pacific summit, with troops on the ground, helicopters overhead and Colombian warships off the coast.

Washington sees Colombian President Alvaro Uribe as a key ally in the effort to curtail the illegal drug trade and fight terrorism. Uribe's government has emphasized the security threat posed by the FARC while seeking U.S. aid, of which it has received more than $3 billion over the past four years.

The last U.S. president to visit Colombia was Bill Clinton (news - web sites). Bomb-making materials were seized in a house six blocks from a Cartagena building he was visiting and Colombian officials said they belonged to the FARC.
Colombia 'foiled attempt on Bush'

By Jeremy McDermott
BBC, Colombia


The largest guerrilla group in Colombia ordered an assassination attempt on US President George W Bush during a recent visit there, a senior official says.

Colombian Defence Minister Jorge Alberto Uribe said Mr Bush was targeted in the city of Cartagena last Monday.

Informers and other intelligence sources revealed the attempt, he said.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have long accused the US of meddling in the country's 40-year civil war.

The Farc's seven-man ruling body ordered guerrilla units to make an attempt on Mr Bush's life, Mr Uribe said.

Long list of reasons

The Colombian authorities insisted that the attempt was thwarted by the heavy security net thrown up around the US president which, apart from his own secret service details, included 15,000 members of the Colombian security forces.

The Farc have a long list of reasons for wanting Mr Bush dead, most pressing is the fact that Washington provides over $600m in mainly military aid to Bogota and supplies intelligence from US listening stations, satellites and spy planes that are focused on Colombia.

Another reason is the issue of extradition.

The US has indicted much of the Farc high command on drugs trafficking charges and two senior Farc commanders in prison seem set to sent to face American justice.

The fact that the guerrillas would even consider killing the most powerful and heavily protected man on earth shows that US involvement in Colombia is so deep that the rebels feel they have very little to lose.
Colombia Deploys 15,000 Troops for Bush
Associated Press Writer
4:39 PM PST, November 21, 2004

CARTAGENA, Colombia The Spanish colonialists who fortified this Colombian seaport 400 years ago to guard against pirates and rival imperial powers could only have dreamed of the security being implemented for President Bush's visit here Monday.

About 15,000 Colombian security forces -- backed by warplanes, helicopters, battleships and two submarines -- will safeguard Bush's four-hour trip to discuss the nation's war on drugs. That is the same number of American troops deployed in the Fallujah offensive in Iraq.

"If something happened during the president's visit, we would lose everything -- tourism, business. ... The country's image would suffer greatly," said Navy Capt. Nelson Fernandez, who is in charge of security.

Colombia is wracked by a 40-year-old Marxist insurgency and there is concern the rebels could try to attack Bush.

Standing on the roof of Cartagena's Convention Center where Special Forces staged a mock hostage rescue Sunday, Fernandez said all boats will be barred from entering or leaving the port during Bush's stay, and the airspace will be shut down.

The sale of alcoholic drinks will be banned for 24 hours and workers are being given Monday off -- in part to pre-empt protests, since many employees and students live in surrounding villages and would face roadblocks and searches if they tried to enter.

Nevertheless, a handful of minor demonstrations were expected, but probably not all of them will be directed against the United States, Fernandez said.

Those likely to take to the streets include families whose homes were flooded recently by the heaviest torrential rains in five years, seeking to use publicity around Bush's visit to demand more state aid.

With its pastel-colored colonial buildings, Caribbean sun, fresh seafood, pulsating music and relative peace, Cartagena is the Colombian government's ace-in-the-hole for visiting foreign dignitaries.

But Bush will not see any of the walled city, unlike President Clinton, who toured its cobblestone streets in a horse-drawn carriage in August 2000. Bush and his conservative Colombian counterpart, Alvaro Uribe, will remain at a colonial estate on an island just off the coast for their talks.

Bush and Uribe are expected to discuss future U.S. military aid to combat cocaine production and the insurgent groups that control the trade.

Residents expressed disappointment.

"When President Clinton came a lot of work was done to make the city more beautiful, which was good for tourism," said Camilo Vega, a 42-year-old trinket seller. "But this time, nothing is being done."

Others said they were pleased with all the attention Cartagena gets during presidential visits, but were fed up with the security.

"I have been searched three times in the last two days," said Jorge Enrique Martinez, who sells ice cream on a bicycle cart. "I am not a guerrilla!"