Hugo Chavez (Photo by Thomas Coex/Newscom

On March 1,  Spanish prosecuting judge Eloy Velasco issued indictments against 12 terrorist members of the ETA, the chief Basque separatist/terrorist organization, and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).  Both ETA and FARC are considered international terrorist organization in Europe and by the U.S.

The Spanish judge charged the 12 with conspiring to murder Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe, former president Andrés Pastrana, and other senior Colombian officials on Spanish soil.  International arrest warrants were issued for all 12.

Judge Velasco wrote in the indictment: “There is evidence in this case which shows the Venezuelan government’s cooperation in the illegal association between FARC and ETA.”

The indictment singles out long-time ETA member Arturo Cubillas Fontán as the primary liaison between the ETA and FARC. Cubillas, a naturalized Venezuelan citizen, is believed to be employed by Hugo Chavez’s government as chief of security for the National Land Institute. According to Judge Velasco, Cubillas acted as a regular go-between for the ETA with senior FARC officials and arranged training of ETA and FARC terrorists on Venezuelan soil between 2003 and 2008.  Cubillas’ wife – journalist Goizeder Odriozola – was appointed in 2006 to be director of Chavez’s presidential office.

Evidence in the ETA-FARC case was in part developed from documents found in laptop files recovered in March 2008 when the Colombian military took out the FARC’s chief of staff Raul Reyes and others in a guerrilla base camp just inside Ecuador.

The indictment prompted Spanish Premier Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to demand explanations from the Venezuelan government. Chavez dismissed the charges as “unacceptable.”  Ironically, it is Chavez who routinely claims to have uncovered plots [unsubstantiated] aimed at assassinating him.

The Spanish charges further reinforce the case for action by the Obama Administration to place Venezuela on the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism.