WASHINGTON — The general in charge of US military activities in Latin America said Thursday he had no evidence of links between Venezuela's leftist government and Colombian and Basque guerrilla groups.
"We have not seen any connections specifically that I can verify that there has been a direct government-to-terrorist connection," General Douglas Fraser, head of the US Southern Command, told a Senate hearing.
"We have continued to watch very closely for any connections between illicit and terrorist organization activity within the region," he said. "We are concerned about it. I'm skeptical. I continue to watch for it."
Fraser's comments follow charges by a Spanish judge linking alleged assassination plots in Spain by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Basque separatist group ETA to Venezuelan "governmental support."
Venezuela has rejected the charges, which raised tensions with Spain.
Arturo Valenzuela, the assistant secretary of state responsible for Latin American affairs, told another congressional panel Wednesday there had been some evidence of some kind of Venezuelan assistance to the FARC.
Fraser, however, said he was aware only of "old evidence" of assistance.
"But I don't see that evidence. I can't tell you specifically whether that continues or not," he said.
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