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Venezuelan Embassy rejects claims by British institute linking Venezuela to the Colombian internal conflict

The Venezuelan Embassy in London today expressed its concern that a report by the British International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) linking Venezuela to the Colombian internal conflict “looks like a dodgy Latin America dossier”.

The Embassy pointed out that there are basic inaccuracies in the pre-publicity and the report, The FARC Files: Venezuela, Ecuador and the Secret Archive of ‘Raúl Reyes, which was released on Tuesday, May 10.

It also called for responsible reporting given that the Colombian Supreme Court has dismissed the “evidence” coming from the computers as inadmissible in prosecution cases against Colombian politicians. [i]

The Embassy expressed its surprise and concern at the IISS’ decision to use documents whose handling by the Colombian authorities has been said by international police organization INTERPOL to “not conform to internationally recognised principles for the ordinary handling of electronic evidence by law enforcement”.[ii]

Yet despite these strong statements in Interpol’s report on the computers, the IISS just states in its pre-publicity for the launch of the report that:

The Colombian government subsequently obtained confirmation from the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) that the archive had not been manipulated following its capture and exploited the operational leads that it provided over the following months.

Given these flaws, the Embassy said that this brings into question the quality of the rest of the report.

This is just one of the factors that cast serious doubt on the authenticity and validity of the information from the laptops that has been presented in the IISS “FARC Files” dossier. As well as raising concerns with the failure to adhere to international practices, Interpol has also stated that it cannot verify the “accuracy of the user files,” nor can it prove that the files were not tampered with during the week that it took the Colombian authorities to hand the computers over to Interpol.  [iii]

The Embassy said that international community should not accept as valid the use of unverified files by the British institute.

It has also warned that this could become part of an aggressive propaganda tool against Venezuela to undermine progress in the region, precisely at a time when relations between Venezuela and Colombia have reached a level of stable cooperation and friendly dialogue.

Press Unit of the Venezuelan Embassy in London/ Press Office – Venezuelan Embassy to the US/ May 10, 2011

[i] http://www.colombiareports.com/colombia-news/news/12165-raul-reyes-computers.html

[ii]  www.interpol.int/Public/ICPO/PressReleases/PR2008/pdfPR200817/ipPublicReportNoCoverEN.pdf.

[iii] http://www.interpol.int/Public/ICPO/PressReleases/PR2008/pdfPR200817/ipPublicReportNoCoverEN.pdf

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