January 4, 2005
Dear President Hugo Chavez Frias,
We write to you as persons who are in solidarity with your anti-imperialist politics and with the important social transformations that your government is developing for the well being of the majority of Venezuelans.
In light of these considerations, we were surprised to learn that the security forces DISIP have been actively involved in the detention of Rodrigo Granda (better known as Ricardo González), member of the international relations team of the Revolutionary Armed Froces of Colombia, FARC. According to what one has been able to establish by reliable sources, Granda was detained in Caracas this past December 13 and taken to DISIP barracks. Hours later he was transported to Colombia in the trunk of a car, where he was “officially” “captured.” No judicial or administrative process was taken into account, in a clear violation of applicable Venezuelan and international laws.
One should recall, President Chavez, that Granda has been received by high state representatives and important political and social organizations throughout the world, as part of his diplomatic activity in the search for a politically negotiated solution to the Colombian conflict.
This arrest and subsequent kidnapping resembles more the form of acting of the Colombian authorities and those developed by the dictatorships of the Southern Cone during the sinister “Plan Condor,” than the policies of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
This is not the first time this has happened, President Chavez. There are various pieces of information that show the assassination and kidnapping of peasant leaders and of Colombian union leaders, in operations coordinated between Venezuelan authorities and Colombian security forces and/or paramilitary forces.
We believe that such procedures, especially by the DISIP, are a serious attack against the national security of your nation. The DISIP has violated Venezuelan sovereignty by allowing Colombian security forces and their paramilitary groups to act with impunity in Venezuela.
More important even: it puts in doubt the loyalty of high ranking officials of the DISIP and of other state institutions with regard to the political process that you are advancing. President Chavez, you have offered to be neutral with regard to the internal Colombian conflict and to help find paths to peace by way of political negotiation and far removed from what the United States and the Plan Colombia propose.
We respectfully ask you, President Chavez, to establish a special independent investigation for clarifying who is responsible for the kidnapping of Granda and, hopefully, of that of other Colombian social leaders in Venezuelan territory.
We respectfully solicit that you continue taking all measures necessary for cleaning the Venezuelan security forces of all who would help violate the sovereignty of your nation and of those who want to isolate the Bolivarian Revolution from the support of popular and social movements in Colombia and in the rest of the world.
In Bolivarian solidarity,
- James Petras, sociologist, United States.
- Hernando Calvo Ospina, writer, Colombia/France.
- Noam Chomsky, linguist, United States.
- Margarita López Maya, sociologist, Venezuela.
- Martín Almada, Alternative Nobel Prize winner 2002, Paraguay.
- Aram Aharonian, journalist, Uruguay/Venezuela.
- William Blum, ex-State Department official, United States.
- Pablo Kilberg, journalist, Argentina.
- Ramón Chao, journalist, Spain/France.
- Pascual Serrano, journalist, Spain.
- François Houtart, theologist, Belgium.
- Marcelo Larrea, journalist, Ecuador.
- Carlos Fazio, journalist, Uruguay/México.
- Santiago Alba, writer, Spain.