Surprising a universe of no one, IISS’s version of the Raul Reyes files are already up online. They make for absolutely compelling reading – you can waste hours and hours leafing through them, which I know for a fact, cuz I just did precisely that!
The Venezuela-related file is 836 pages of small type – some 832,000 words, longer than the King James Bible. So no, I don’t think anyone is likely to get through it in one sitting. But, thanks to the magic of “Control-F,” you can weave together different strands of the tale in just minutes.
One interesting subplot is the burgeoning bro-mance between Iván Márquez – FARC’s de facto ambassador in Caracas – and then Central Caracas Mayor Freddy Bernal in late 2002 and early 2003.
- Bernal first gets noticed by FARC, following his “heroic” work defending Chávez on April 11th, 2002 (in email numbered I.414 – a fascinating missive worth its own post).
- By june 2002 (I.436) we first see Bernal ask FARC for training.
- In I.455 (July 20, 2002) we find out Bernal’s right-hand man says they don’t trust the army and want to build structures that don’t depend on the barracks.
- By October (I.498) they’re discussing dates to train Bernal’s people in urban warfare tactics and explosives.
- Just a few days later (I.501) Iván Márquez confirms the training dates.
- By the end of November (I.515), FARC’s training exercises for Bernal’s urban guerrilla squads seem pretty much institutionalized: they’re doing one and planning the next. (Other trainings involved PCV youth and MEP members.)
- By December 2002, Freddy is meeting FARC’s people in Caracas directly, semi-regularly, to coordinate on a broad range of issues.
- In January, Bernal’s people are actively helping FARC’s “diplomats” organize a trip to Brazil (I.524).
Then, in a detailed email dated March 8th 2003 (numbered I.534),we get the guinda de la torta - when Bernal takes the chance to relate to Márquez his intimate conviction that the U.S. has a plan to destabilize Chávez by, among other things…”linking him to the guerrilla”!!!
¡Es que esos gringos sí inventan, vale!…