What does Ecuador’s President Correa know that Colombia’s President Uribe also knows?By: COHA Research Associate Erina Uozumi
President Correa’s persistence in terms of pursuing the validity of the data found on the laptops seized by Colombian forces during their March 1 raid on the FARC camp located just inside the Ecuadorian border, raises questions on the motivation for his stand. Is it that Correa feels that he has little to lose if the whole story comes out because the facts will vindicate him? If he felt that Ecuador would be in any way be compromised as a result of full disclosure, why would he drill away at the incident?
Both Colombia’s President Uribe and Venezuela’s President Chávez have exhibited conflicting attitudes over downgrading the exposure being given to the present confrontation between Bogotá and Caracas. At times, they throw gasoline at the fire, while at other times, they seemingly attempt to snuff out the flame. President Correa, however, has never relented on his insistence that Colombia not only make restitutions for the cross border incursion, but also apologize for Bogotá’s current media campaign and allegations against his country.
Relations between the two countries, already strained by the longtime issue of toxic herbicide spraying of Ecuadorian territory along the Colombian border, have been further exacerbated by the bitter mistrust between the Colombian and Ecuadorian leaders regarding the FARC files. Correa claims that the only contact that Ecuador has had with the FARC was of a humanitarian nature, and that guerrilla infiltration across the borders is impossible to totally control by either side. Uribe has countered that Ecuador was harboring terrorists, thus implying that Quito was explicitly protecting the FARC.
Therefore, Correa´s committed campaign against Colombia and his unwillingness to yield in his insistence in obtaining President Uribe’s public acknowledgement of Colombia’s culpability, which would exonerate Ecuador’s good name, raises a specific question. Why would Correa so relentlessly stick with the issue if he were not convinced that he possessed a strong hand in arguing that Ecuador had no compromising relationship with the FARC, that the laptop revealed no embarrassing information regarding that relationship (at least from Quito’s perspective), and that, at best, Colombia’s case against Ecuador is weak and deserves little sympathy either from the region or the international community. Or could it be that the FARC computer scandal has been largely contrived by Colombia to discredit any number of South American left-leaning administrations as part of a larger conservative campaign to isolate these governments and reinforce Washington’s assessment of the situation and the way in which it would like to have the script read?