BOGOTA, Colombia Files provided by Colombian officials from computers they say were captured in a cross-border raid in Ecuador on March 1 appear to tie Venezuela's government to efforts to secure arms for Colombia's largest insurgency.
Officials taking part in Colombia's investigation of the computers provided The New York Times with copies of more than 20 files, some of which also showed contributions from the rebels to the 2006 campaign of Ecuador's leftist president, Rafael Correa.
If verified, the files would offer rare insight into the cloak-and-dagger nature of Latin America's longest-running guerrilla conflict, including what appeared to be the killing of a Colombian government spy with microchips implanted in her body, a crime apparently carried out by the rebels.
They would also potentially link the governments of Venezuela and Ecuador to the leftist guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which is classified by Washington as a terrorist group and has fought to overthrow Colombia's government for four decades.
While it was impossible to authenticate the files independently, the Colombian officials said their government had invited Interpol to verify the files. They did not want to be named while Interpol completed its report.
Both the United States and Colombia, Washington's staunchest ally in the region, have a strong interest in undercutting President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who has sought to counter the influence of the United States by forming his own leftist bloc in the region. But the Colombian officials who provided the computer files adamantly vouched for them.
The files contained touches that suggested authenticity: They were filled with revolutionary jargon, passages in numerical code, missives about U.S. policy in Latin America and even brief personal reflections like one by a senior rebel commander on the joy of becoming a grandfather.
Vice President Francisco Santos said Colombia's stability was at risk if explicit support from its neighbors for the FARC was proved true. "The idea that using weapons to topple a democratic government has not been censured is not only stupid," Santos said in an interview. "It is frankly frightening."
Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos said officials had obtained more than 16,000 files from three computers belonging to Luis Edgar Devia Silva, a commander known as Raul Reyes, who was killed in a raid on March 1. Two other hard drives were also captured, he said. Santos said he expected the work on the validation to be completed by late April.