Leftist Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez is threatening neighboring Colombia with war after that country successfully killed via airstrike FARC terrorists in a camp in Ecuador. Yet in reporting the story, CBSNews.com and the AP downplayed the terroristic nature of the leftist rebel movement.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been on a Comprehensive List of Terrorists and Groups since November 2, 2001, yet in a March 2 AP filing on the CBSNews.com Web site, the Associated Press waited 30 paragraphs before hinting that FARC was an internationally-maligned terror organization:
[Venezuelan dictator Hugo] Chavez has increasingly revealed his sympathies for the FARC, and in January asked that it be struck from lists of terrorist groups internationally.
Instead, AP preferred to label FARC as a "rebel" force and put in dismissive quote marks the term "terrorists" to refer to FARC militants. For good measure, AP gave ink to former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, who insisted Colombia was acting as a puppet of Washington:
(CBS/AP) Venezuela and Ecuador ordered troops to their borders with Colombia, sharply raising tensions after Colombia killed a top rebel leader on Ecuadorean soil.
President Hugo Chavez on Sunday promised Venezuela would respond militarily if Colombia violates its border, where he ordered tanks as well as thousands of troops. He also ordered closed Venezuela's embassy in Bogota.
"This could be the start of a war in South America," Chavez said.
Chavez called the killing of rebel leader and spokesman Raul Reyes and 16 other guerrillas on Saturday an attack by a "terrorist state," saying it shows Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is a "criminal."
Colombia said after the assault that FARC "terrorists" including Reyes "have had the custom of killing in Colombia and taking refuge in the territory of neighboring countries."
Fidel Castro blamed the U.S. for the turmoil, writing on Monday that "genocidal plans of the Yankee empire" created tensions between the South American nations.
It wasn't until paragraph 31 of 36 that the AP mentioned activities that FARC is infamous for which easily fall under the definition of terrorism:
The leftist FARC has been fighting Colombia's government for more than four decades, and funds itself largely through the cocaine trade and kidnaps for ransom and political ends.