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ETA - Chavez connection: misinformation rules the agenda

A journalist from Diario La Verdad, in Venezuela. A journalist from The Christian Science Monitor, in Madrid. Another from Agencia COLPISA, also in Madrid. The director of PROVEA, a human rights NGO in Caracas. Venezuelan Ambassador to Spain. An ETA terrorist, Arturo Cubillas. A collective of so called journalists in Venezuela... What do these people have in common?

The ETA - Chavez connection, brought to light after Spain's equivalent to the Supreme Court asked Venezuela to extradite a number of people involved in terrorist activities, is generating a torrent of misinformation rarely seen. At the centre of this issue is one Arturo Cubillas Fontan: extradited from Algeria to Venezuela in 1989, after an agreement between Spanish premier Felipe Gonzalez and Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez. Had Cubillas kept going about his life as a law abiding individual, which included presenting himself to police offices periodically in Venezuela so that his activities and whereabouts could be monitored, perhaps nothing would have happened.

Cubillas married Goizeder Odriozola, a Venezuelan of Basque descent and one time collaborator of PROVEA. Odriozola's rise within chavismo, to held important positions such as Chavez very own personal secretary, makes the caudillo's argument -of not knowing whether Cubillas is involved in terrorist activities- simply preposterous. What kind of clearance processes -to vet the adequacy of employing the wife of a wanted terrorist- has the Venezuelan strongman in place? Furthermore, what reasonable explanation can be given about the fact that the Chavez regime is not only employing Cubillas, but giving ETA terrorists  Venezuelan citizenships? For that is precisely what Hugo Chavez's administration did, on 9 August 2004. Was that part of the drive to naturalise hundreds of thousands of foreigners living in the country, so that they could vote in favour of Chavez on the recall referendum of 15 August 2004?

The Christian Science Monitor has published today that Cubillas was naturalised in 1993. That is false. The Diario La Verdad, in Venezuela, published a picture -purportedly of Cubillas- which ended up being somebody else. Marino Alvarado, director of PROVEA, is meant to be representing Cubillas, and when the two of them went last week to Venezuela's Attorney's General's office to request an investigation into the allegations, they presented a 3-page document containing false ID numbers. Venezuelan Ambassador to Spain, Isaias Rodriguez, suggested that the two ETA terrorists recently arrested that informed they had received training in Venezuela from Cubillas were tortured -an allegation repeated almost verbattim by Cubillas. A 'collective of journalists' have protested the 'attacks' suffered by Goizeder Odriozola and her family, due to Spain's requests to have her husband extradited. Odriozola, interestingly a one time human rights NGO collaborator, gets to publish opinion pieces in GARA, ETA's publication.

There's far too much disinformation going about this case. One can only hope that Spain's judiciary will be able to keep the eye on the ball, filter all the BS, and get hold of Cubillas. For Hugo Chavez won't move a finger against him. Odriozola continues to be Chavez's Vice President right hand. Cubillas himself continues working in Chavez's ministry of agriculture and land, terrorising hundreds of Spanish landowners.