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A car bomb exploded in Colombia's capital today, wounding at least nine people and damaging buildings in what appeared to be a challenge to the country's new president, Juan Manuel Santos.
Authorities said the attack, which came just days after Santos was sworn in as president, bore the hallmarks of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), leftist guerrillas who have been battling the state for decades.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People's Army (Spanish: Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – Ejército del Pueblo), also known by the acronym of FARC or FARC-EP, is a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary guerrilla organization based in Colombia, which is involved in the ongoing Colombian armed conflict.
FARC-EP is a peasant army which has proclaimed itself as a revolutionary agrarian, anti-imperialist Marxist-Leninist organization of Bolivarian inspiration. It claims to represent the rural poor in a struggle against Colombia's wealthier classes, and opposes United States influence in Colombia (e.g. Plan Colombia), neo-imperialism, monopolization of natural resources by multinational corporations, and paramilitary/government violence. It funds itself principally through ransom kidnappings and taxation of the illegal drug trade.
FARC-EP remains the largest and oldest insurgent group in the Americas. According to the Colombian government, FARC-EP had an estimated 6,000-8,000 members in 2008, down from 16,000 in 2001, having lost much of their fighting force since President Álvaro Uribe took office in 2002. Political analyst and former guerrilla León Valencia has estimated that FARC's numbers have been reduced to around 11,000 from their 18,000 peak but cautions against considering the group a defeated force. In 2007 FARC-EP Commander Raúl Reyes claimed that their force consisted of 18,000 guerrillas.
He said: "I have written proof of the entries and exits of two military officers from the United States into the headquarters of the coup plotters.
"I have their names, whom they met with, what they said, proof on video and on still photographs."
Speaking of Ali Rodriguez's warning, Mr Chavez told Newsnight: "That call of alert helped me."
Chavez said that he had tried to avert a coup by sending a note to President Bush, assuring him that Venezuela would never join any oil boycott.
But coup leader Pedro Carmona moved on 12 April, the day after a general strike began, and four days after Iraq banned oil exports.