By Larry Daley

A test of Castro's intentions in the terror war.

It is very apparent that the FARC guerrillas are trying to show their strength and ruthlessness, by slaughtering a former woman minister and wife of an important Colombian official while "negotiating with" that same government (see footnote below). Apparently, the leadership of these guerrillas believse that the US, busy with Bin Ladin, will not respond by further support of the Colombian government.

One could also conclude from the information in the footnote below, that the Colombian narco-guerrillas are using the present situation in the US as a cover to expand their terror base. It is possible or even probable that these guerrillas plan to establish a second international terror front, by linking up with Venezuela (already a Colombian guerrilla official has been discovered hidden among Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's guard and photographed whispering in his ear) ..

In addition, this may well be a sign that Castro who is extremely close to these guerrillas -- it is not only a ideological thing for he helps supply and he shelters their diplomats, couriers and wounded-- has decided to join in the terror war. As a measure of intentions this is quite serious test of the Cuban government.

One can be sure that the Cuban government will at best say words condemning this murder of this high-profile, well-connected, Colombian woman. If not even these words are articulated and there is no follow through on the part of the Cuban government it may well be taken to indicate that Castro, as well as these guerrillas have joined to make a second world wide terror front.

All this can be extremely significant to this country's security since Cuba, an island sitting on the US's doorstep, has a government already labeled as terrorist by the US State Department,

footnote 1
Miami Herald

Posted at 8:47 a.m. EDT Sunday, September 30, 2001

Araujo, ex-Colombian culture minister, slain

Associated Press Writer

BOGOTA, Colombia -- (AP) -- Former Culture Minister Consuelo Araujo, the wife of Colombia's inspector-general, has been found shot to death, six days after being kidnapped by leftist rebels, family members said Sunday.

The body of the 62-year-old Araujo was found near the northern town of Valledupar. President Andres Pastrana called the family Saturday night to let them known the body had been discovered, said a family member who did not want to be identified for security reasons.

The killing of the high-profile figure puts in jeopardy peace talks that President Andres Pastrana initiated three years ago with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. While the talks have produced few results, the rebels have been accused of abuses including kidnappings, extortion, murder and drug trafficking.

Araujo, a popular figure, was Pastrana's culture minister and the wife of Inspector-General Edgardo Mayo, who leads a watchdog branch in charge investigations of government officials.

She was also a friend of Nobel Literature Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, also Colombian, and for years had organized Colombia's main music festival, which is held in Valledupar.

Authorities and witnesses said the FARC kidnapped Araujo and 10 others at a roadblock on a rural road outside Valledupar, about 420 miles (675 kilometers) north of Bogota, last Monday. Most of the others had been freed soon after the mass abduction.

Security forces have been trying to find Araujo since then in the mountainous region near the Caribbean coast.

Impatience with the FARC, which has been fighting a 37-year war against a succession of U.S.-backed governments, has been increasing.

On Saturday, FARC rebels wielding AK-47s and submachine guns blocked a peaceful caravan from entering their safe haven, forcing leading presidential candidate Horacio Serpa to call off a demonstration aimed at demanding rebel peace concessions.

Pastrana called the rebel blockade of the convoy a blow to the peace process and said he had instructed his peace envoy to seek an immediate meeting with the FARC.

The president was to have gone on Sunday to the safe haven, but canceled the trip late Saturday. Pastrana's government ceded the Switzerland-sized zone to the rebels in 1998 to launch peace negotiations.

``With its attitude, the FARC is putting in doubt its word and its desire for peace,'' said Pastrana, before the announcement of the discovery of Araujo's body.

The caravan was heading to San Vicente, the main town inside the FARC's southern stronghold, where Serpa had planned to deliver a speech.

FARC chief Manuel Marulanda had accused Serpa of using the march to gain votes in the next year's presidential election, which is shaping up as a referendum on a peace process that many Colombians have grown disillusioned with. Pastrana is constitutionally barred from seeking a second term.


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