The (Re) Guessing Game

I think I’ve discovered one problem with research: no matter how quickly you read, write, or produce- you’re still going to be a bit behind the times. You’re always second guessing-  at the very least yourself, but also probably that article you read last week, or the outcome of a test that’s been run. For me, with a topic that means I get a pertinent ‘Google News Alert’ in my mailbox at least 3 times a week, it means I’ve got to keep adapting and factoring in new events.

One such event has, in the last 2 weeks, been the fracturing of relations between Colombia and Venezuela. In a report before the OAS, Colombia presented evidence of FARC guerilla camps within the Venezuelan border, stating that Venezuela has failed to eradicate and in some instances is harboring the FARC rebels. Chavez reacted by immediately severing all relations with Colombia in response to this accusation.  The new  Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, took office today (August 7) and spokespeople from both sides of the border have expressed the expectation that relations will soon be mended.

However, the fact that this rupture occurred just at the end of my research (and that the news releases are still spreading and columnists still offering their opinions) is almost symbolic for the ongoing need for analysis and knowledge of this issue. It brings the situation to the forefront once again with a real diplomatic problem, but it seems that the same questions of the last several years are those that occur over and over again. Will there always be conflicting reports on whether or not FARC activity in Venezuela is in any way assisted by the state? Will there always be (as occurred again today) articles published that links with ETA and these groups still are not confirmed?

The number one thing I’ve learned from this research is the difficulty in saying something ‘for sure’: precisely because anything and everything can change. However, I can express my belief (which follows rather in line with the State department report just released) that Venezuela is certainly not expending effort to eradicate the FARC (and, even if only by association) ETA threat within their borders. And by not doing so, they (Chavez?) put other states at risk.

Perhaps in two weeks Colombia’s new President will have mended relations with Chavez and all will once again be peachy-keen. But this problem and the tension associated with it have existed for nearly a decade- and will linger as long as the questions persist.