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Germany

Colombian Rebels Had Contacts with German Far Left Politician

E-mails recovered from the laptop of a slain Colombian rebel leader, regarded as a terrorist in both Europe and the US, reveal contacts with a radical leftist German politician

Raul Reyes, second in command of Colombia's guerrilla rebels FARC

Reyes death was a huge blow to Marxist guerrilla movement in Latin America

Data found on a lap top belonging to Raul Reyes, the second in command of the radical leftwing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), who was killed in a Colombian raid in Ecuador this past March, revealed contacts with leftist German groups, according to a Spiegel magazine report which reached the newsstands on Monday.

Reyes' death has been the biggest blow to the Marxist guerrilla movement in Latin America since FARC, which has more than 17,000 members, was founded in the 1960s.

E-mail communication on Reyes' lap top show that the guerrilla leader had sent his son to Germany on a secret mission in January 2005. In Germany, Reyes' son had met with German communist party members, including Wolfgang Gehrcke, an extreme leftist politician, who said he would pressure the European Parliament in Strasbourg to remove the FARC from its list of banned terrorist organizations.

The FARC, which is believed to hold hundreds of people hostage including the case involving the highly publicized French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt, is also on Washington's watch list of terror groups. It has also been accused of funding its insurgency through kidnapping for huge ransoms and trafficking cocaine.

The meeting between Gehrcke and Reyes' son was described as “very positive" in an E-mail found on Reyes' laptop. "We were able to substantiate several points in support of the struggle of the Colombian people," quoted Der Spiegel in the email.

Computer data found after the raid has already heightened tensions in South America, with Colombian officials saying that they have substantiated links between the FARC, Ecuadoran and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

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