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Ecuador's president says 'assassination' plot may be hoax

June 13, 2008 |  9:51 am

Rafael_correaThere's a strange story out of Ecuador about an alleged plot to assassinate Ecuador's president Rafael Correa. But the incident later was characterized as a possible con job by ... Correa himself.

Correa lately has been near the center of the regional conflict between neighboring Colombia's government and the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) guerrilla rebels. Earlier this year, a diplomatic crisis occurred when Colombian officials alleged that documents found at a FARC camp inside the Ecuadorean border showed evidence of political cooperation between the rebels and Correa.

The alleged documents were seized during a highly controversial March 1 Colombian military raid into Ecuador. Colombia has made similar charges of cooperating with the FARC against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a Correa ally.

Correa denounced Colombia's allegations as lies, and condemned the raid as a violation of Ecuador's sovereignty. The Organization of American States also denounced Colombia's attack. Colombia has apologized for making the raid, but verbal skirmishing has continued.

At first, Thursday's incident, in which Ecuadorean police arrested four men, including at least three Colombians, on charges of plotting to kill Correa seemed to augur more cross-border finger-pointing. But Correa himself later cast doubt on the plot. Read the Associated Press account here.

" 'There is a high possibility that they're simply con men,' said Ecuador's leftist president, adding that the men had asked for money in exchange for information."

"Police must 'continue to investigate, but we are not alarmed,' he said."

Stay tuned....

"Photo: Rafael Correa in a May, 2008 file photo. Credit: Remy de la Mauviniere, Associated Press

-- Reed Johnson in Mexico City

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