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An Open Letter to Hugo Chavez

On the Detention of Rodrigo Granda

by James Petras, Et Al.

Dear President Hugo Chavez
Frias,

We write to you as persons
who are in solidarity with your anti-imperialist politics and
with the important social transformations that your government
is developing for the well being of the majority of Venezuelans.

In light of these considerations,
we were surprised to learn that the security forces DISIP have
been actively involved in the detention of Rodrigo Granda (better
known as Ricardo González), member of the international
relations team of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia,
FARC. According to what one has been able to establish by reliable
sources, Granda was detained in Caracas this past December 13
and taken to DISIP barracks. Hours later he was transported to
Colombia in the trunk of a car, where he was "officially"
"captured." No judicial or administrative process was
taken into account, in a clear violation of applicable Venezuelan
and international laws.

One should recall, President
Chavez, that Granda has been received by high state representatives
and important political and social organizations throughout the
world, as part of his diplomatic activity in the search for a
politically negotiated solution to the Colombian conflict.

This arrest and subsequent
kidnapping resembles more the form of acting of the Colombian
authorities and those developed by the dictatorships of the Southern
Cone during the sinister "Plan Condor," than the policies
of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

This is not the first time
this has happened, President Chavez. There are various pieces
of information that show the assassination and kidnapping of
peasant leaders and of Colombian union leaders, in operations
coordinated between Venezuelan authorities and Colombian security
forces and/or paramilitary forces.

We believe that such procedures,
especially by the DISIP, are a serious attack against the national
security of your nation. The DISIP has violated Venezuelan sovereignty
by allowing Colombian security forces and their paramilitary
groups to act with impunity in Venezuela.

More important even: it puts
in doubt the loyalty of high ranking officials of the DISIP and
of other state institutions with regard to the political process
that you are advancing. President Chavez, you have offered to
be neutral with regard to the internal Colombian conflict and
to help find paths to peace by way of political negotiation and
far removed from what the United States and the Plan Colombia
propose.

We respectfully ask you, President
Chavez, to establish a special independent investigation for
clarifying who is responsible for the kidnapping of Granda and,
hopefully, of that of other Colombian social leaders in Venezuelan
territory.

We respectfully solicit that
you continue taking all measures necessary for cleaning the Venezuelan
security forces of all who would help violate the sovereignty
of your nation and of those who want to isolate the Bolivarian
Revolution from the support of popular and social movements in
Colombia and in the rest of the world.

In Bolivarian solidarity,

James Petras, sociologist,
United States.

Hernando Calvo Ospina, writer, Colombia/France.

Noam Chomsky, linguist, United States.

Margarita López Maya, sociologist, Venezuela.

Martín Almada, Alternative Nobel Prize winner 2002, Paraguay.

Aram Aharonian, journalist, Uruguay/Venezuela.

William Blum, ex-State Department official, United States.

Pablo Kilberg, journalist, Argentina.

Ramón Chao, journalist, Spain/France.

Pascual Serrano, journalist, Spain.

François Houtart, theologist, Belgium.

Marcelo Larrea, journalist, Ecuador.

Carlos Fazio, journalist, Uruguay/México.

Santiago Alba, writer, Spain.