Father Jose Palmar told local media he has evidence that Timoleon Jimenez, alias Timochenko, and other senior members of the FARC are living across the border.
Palmar said, “There is a point on the border called the crossing […] where there is a series of farms belonging to [Venezuelan President] Hugo Chavez, which are ‘lent’ to the FARC […] among them Timochenko, who is an associate of [Venezuelan Defense Minister] Rangel Silva and Adan Chavez [Governor of Barinas State and brother of the president]. We have proof but in this country there is no tribunal nor public prosecutor capable of an investigation.”
The priest claims that indigenous people who mix with guerrillas come to his parish to eat and later admit in private to being members of the FARC.
Pablo Perez, Governor of Zulia State, which borders Colombia, is aware of the issue and laments the lack of political will in the Chavez government to combat Colombian insurgents.
Perez said, “I have information within our national army of some officers who do not have the modern weaponry required to perform even preventative actions.”
This month, Venezuelan ambassador to Colombia Ivan Rincon issued a statement denying the presence of Timochenko in Venezuela. He stated that Hugo Chavez does not permit the presence of any kind of guerrilla or rebel group within Venezuelan territory.