Venezuela deports Colombian journalist for alleged FARC ties

Journalist Joaquín Pérez Becerra arrived in Bogotá April 25 after being extradited by Venezuela for being “the head of the international front of the FARC in Europe,” referring to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerilla group, CNN and El Espectador report.

Pérez Becerra is a native of Colombia but has resided in Sweden as a citizen since 1995. He was arrested in the Caracas airport April 23, and was deported at the request of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who thanked Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez for his collaboration on the case, the BBC explains.

According to Caracol Radio and the Associated Press, Pérez Becerra, a political refugee in Sweden and coordinator of the New Colombia News Agency (ANNCOL), denied being involved with the FARC.

The journalist will face charges of financing terrorism and conspiracy to engage in terrorism, RCN Radio adds.

Venezuelananalysis.com writes that Pérez Becerra’s deportation has sparked the ire of some of Chávez’s political allies, as he was granted refugee status by Sweden after escaping assassination for his membership in the Patriotic Union political party. Among the government-allied groups that opposed the deportation are Tribuna Popular and Ciudad Caracas newspapers, Coordinadora Simon Bolivar, Venezuela's Communist Party, and the UNETE union federation.

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Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.