Oliver North

That's just nonsense. Neither the pitifully outfitted Ecuadorian nor Venezuelan militaries are capable of conducting operations against the well-trained, equipped and combat-experienced Colombian armed forces. A former intelligence officer told me in the aftermath of the Chavez bluster: "The Venezuelan military can't go on a camp out without a caterer."

Another old friend -- a former military officer with long and current contacts in the region -- put it this way: "Chavez is trying to distract the Venezuelan people from their disastrous economic straits -- despite record prices for petroleum -- and divert the international community from focusing on what's in the captured FARC computer records." As for the troop deployments, "any Venezuelan soldiers ordered to the border region will be there to make sure that FARC founder Manuel Marulanda Velez -- 'Tirofijo' -- doesn't get 'taken out' by the Colombians like Reyes was last week."

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents have long suspected that Tirofijo -- now 77 and believed to be ill -- is being protected in Venezuela. Though Chavez rejects charges that he is providing refuge to the much-wanted terrorist, e-mail exchanges in the captured computers cast serious doubt on his regime's denials.

Having now seen some of these files, there is much to substantiate serious concern in Venezuela -- and elsewhere -- about what Chavez and his friends in the FARC have been up to. The captured computers provide details of long-term financial connections between Chavez and the FARC leadership; records of drug transactions; and conversations with American emissaries, who assure that "Obama will be the next U.S. president." There is even a reference to FARC obtaining 50 kilograms of radioactive material.

The record also shows that while Chavez was portraying himself as an "honest broker" in negotiating the release of hostages, the real goal was to obtain "belligerent status" for the terrorist organization. Diplomats at the U.N. and the Organization of American States, who have criticized the Uribe government in Bogota for last week's raid into Ecuador, ought to weigh the evidence carefully before granting moral equivalence to a raid against a terror group and the overthrow of a democratically elected government.


Oliver North

Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.