archivos de los protestos globales

Date: Thu, 5 Sep 2002
Colombian News

1. Exucuted Civilians were dressed up as guerilla
2. US Casualties in Colombia's Civil War
3. Colombia 'enlists' civilians in war against Farc
4. Colombian rebels found stealing government money
5. Paramilitaries Execute Civilians in Huila Read

more at: |
Yahoo News Colombia


By Alfredo Castro, ANNCOL Bogotá, 05.09.2002

Colombian mainstream media covered up when the army lied about a cold-blooded killing of five unarmed youngsters at a gas station in the town of Ovejas.

The Colombian armed forces are known to have the worst human rights record in the Western Hemisphere. Not only do they work alongside of the paramilitary death squads that are responsible for the vast majority of violations but they also commit horrendous acts themselves. As documented both by local and international human rights organisations the Colombian armed forces regularly execute civilian non-combatants as part of their 'dirty war' against those that oppose the state.

Interestingly the Colombian press refuse to report on this – due in part to fear of retaliation and in part to the fact that the two powerful family dynasties that own Colombia's media, the Santos and the Ardila

Lülles, are closely linked to the military high-command and the elite interests that they protect.

Most abuses by the army and paramilitaries against the civilian population are simply ignored by the press or blamed on the rebels – invariably with no evidence whatsoever provided. Another regular tactic used is to claim that civilians murdered by the army and paramilitaries are actually rebels and not civilians at all. One recent example is the killing of five unarmed youngsters in Sucre department.

On July 31st the Colombian press reported that five rebels of 35th front of the FARC guerilla organisation had been killed the previous day as they manned a guerilla roadblock at a place known as Platanalcito in the municipality of Ovejas in northern Sucre department. An investigation into this case by the Bogota weekly paper Voz has now established a totally different story. In reality five civilians, including three teenagers, had been executed in cold blood: Adan Segundo Marquez Medina (17), Jair Jose Rojas Ferreira (20), Guido Antonio Rivera Vital (14), Mauricio Rafael Marquez Contreras (18) and Fray Jose Gonzalez Cardenas (20).

At 6.30pm on July 30th these five friends met at a gas station on the outskirts of the town of Ovejas in Sucre department. The five stood around chatting for a time when suddenly a unit of the 31st counterinsurgency battalion of the 1st Marine Brigade arrived along the road from the neighbouring town of Carmen de Bolivar. The soldiers detained the five and forced them to enter the abattoir that is located behind the gas station.

The army called the police and soon after they had arrived heavy gunfire was heard and the police and/or soldiers had assassinated the five detained men. The bodies were then transferred to the town of Corozal against the wishes of the families of the boys and members of the community of Ovejas. In the morgue the boys were then dressed as guerillas.

[Read more at]

Noticias sobre Colombia | Plan Colombia | AGP


By Alfredo Castro, ANNCOL Bogota, 28.08.2002

Only weeks ago, US military aircraft deployed over Bogota as part of a huge security buildup were unable to prevent a mortar attack on the Colombian Presidential Palace while Alvaro Uribe was being sworn in as president. Until now, no-one has claimed responsibility for the attack but the explosions have highlighted the fact that US troops involved in the Colombian civil war are increasingly running the risk of becoming targets.

Also this month a Colombian army helicopter donated by the US as part of their massive military aid program to Colombia was brought down near the town of Solita by what some reports said was guerilla gunfire. The Huey helicopter was giving air support during heavy combat between FARC rebel units and US-trained troops from one of the counterinsurgency battalions that are also financed by US money.

Six occupants of the helicopter – none of them US citizens - where killed in the incident including the El Salvadorian pilot Eduardo Gil who was working on contract for the US State Department. Specifically Gil was employed by DynCorp, a Virginia-based mercenary company run by ex-US military and intelligence personnel who supply manpower for US semi-covert operations. DynCorp employs numerous foreigners for their missions in Colombia in an effort to circumvent Congressional restrictions on the numbers of US citizens allowed to directly participate in the Colombian civil war. The DynCorp mercenaries frequently come under fire from guerilla forces.

In an interview earlier this year with the Chilean electronic journal 'El Mostrador', FARC spokesman Javier Cifuentes announced that the 2,000 US military personnel that he claimed were currently based in Colombia could be considered to be military objectives by the guerilla organisation. The statement is similar to one made last year by FARC commander Andres Paris who said that "all Colombian or foreign military personnel who are in the combat zones will be military targets."

Some observers would consider Cifuentes' estimate of 2,000 US military personnel as high although nobody outside of the US government is sure of the true figure due the secrecy surrounding US military involvement in Colombia. It is suspected for example that the largest CIA station in the world is located in Bogota although figures for the numbers of agents that they currently have in Colombia are closely guarded.

Here, however, for the first time ever by any media outlet, ANNCOL can reveal the names of 12 US citizens who have been killed in recent years whilst working for the US government on military related projects in Colombia.

The mainstream media seems to have intentionally ignored many of these deaths and it is believed that there could have been more US casualties in Colombia in recent years that have gone unreported.

  1. Agent Edgar Lara Garcia – A DEA agent killed in October 2001 in Mendeihuaca in the department of La Guajira in northern Colombia.
  2. Agent Jose Lara Garcia – Another DEA agent also killed in October 2001 in Mendeihuaca in the department of La Guajira in northern Colombia
  3. Michael Demons (34) – Killed at a military base near the city of Florencia in southern Colombia whilst working on contract for the US State Department in October 2000.
  4. Captain Jennifer Odom (29) – A US army pilot attached to the 204th Military Intelligence Battalion at Fort Bliss, Texas, she was killed on July 3rd 1999 when her US Army DeHavilland RC7 aircraft crashed whilst conducting intelligence operations against FARC guerillas in Putumayo department.
  5. Captain Jose Santiago – A native of Florida, Santiago was the US army co-pilot of the above aircraft.
  6. Chief Warrant Officer Thomas Moore – A native of Arkansas, Moore was a US army crewmember of the above aircraft.
  7. Private First Class Bruce Cluff – A native of Utah, Cluff was a US army crewmember of the above aircraft.
  8. Private First Class Ray Kruegar – A native of Texas, Kruegar was a US army crewmember of the above aircraft.
  9. Agent Frank Arnold Moreno (37) – A native of Texas, Moreno was working for the US Drug Enforcement Agency when he was shot and killed in November 1998 at a bar in northern Bogota.
  10. Pilot Wayne Harley Mulgrew (46) – A native of California, Mulgrew was killed in July 1998 when his Turbo Thrush T-65 aircraft crashed close to the banks of the Guayabero River in the department of Guaviare in southern Colombia. He was working on contract for the US State Department.
  11. Pilot Gary Clyde Chestnut (46) – A native of Alabama, Chestnut was killed in July 1998 on the same flight as above. He too was working on contract for the US State Department.
  12. Pilot Robert Ernest Martin (35) – Killed January 7th 1997 when his Turbo Thrush T-65 aircraft crashed in southern Colombia. He was working on contract for the US State Department.

Noticias sobre Colombia | Plan Colombia | AGP

3. Colombia 'enlists' civilians in war against Farc

The Financial Times

By James Wilson

Published: August 28 2002 19:16 | Last Updated: August 28 2002 19:16

It has been years since José Horlandy, executive president of Valledupar's chamber of commerce, has ventured further by land than the small airport on the city's edge. The roads connecting Valledupar, the capital of Cesar province, with the Caribbean coast or with distant Bogotá are notorious for kidnappings and hold-ups by leftwing rebels and criminals.

Of more than 1,700 people kidnapped in Colombia this year, nearly one in ten has been seized in Cesar. Last year Consuelo Araujo, the minister of culture and a popular local figure, was kidnapped near Valledupar by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) and killed.

Cesar is one of the most lawless zones of a lawless country - which is why President Alvaro Uribe, who took office this month vowing to improve security as his top priority, chose the region to launch one of the most important aspects of his law and order policy.

Over the past month almost 800 of the province's people have agreed to become police informants, under conditions of strict anonymity. They and members of similar pilot schemes in adjoining provinces alert authorities to any potential dangers on the region's roads. In return they receive rewards, amounting to several times the monthly minimum wage in some cases.

A week after unveiling the policy, Mr Uribe returned to Valledupar to hear encouraging results: a reported 43 per cent increase in traffic on Cesar's main highways.

This has not yet tempted Mr Horlandy to venture out. "We need to see more results", he says. "But people are beginning to have trust."

Police captain Angel Rojas, who says he is one of only two people to know the new informants' identities, wants to get at least 4,000 such collaborators in the province, covering highways and also rural areas where rebels might pass. "We want to awaken public spiritedness," he says.

One informant says he is "proud to be giving something to the country". The idea is to widen the scheme across the nation.

Colombians have not always seen the state as an ally. For Mr Uribe, though, engaging citizens in the fight against the guerillas is fundamental. State forces are stretched too thinly and around 180 of Colombia's 1,100 municipalities have no police or army presence.

By promoting a network of paid informants the government hopes to improve security quickly and cheaply. There are also plans to recruit 15,000 peasants by March as part-time police and soldiers, as a way of boosting troop numbers.

Mr Uribe is also reinforcing a message to allies such as the US that Colombian society is willing to shoulder more of the burden of improving security and not rely on outside aid. Mr Uribe has already decreed a one-off tax on the wealthiest to pay for extra military spending.

However, reliance on civilians to help security forces is controversial. One expert in international humanitarian law says civilians who carry out intelligence work risk crossing a legal line when they could become legitimate targets for the guerillas. Any part-time soldiers recruited will live at home, so there are concerns that their families could become targets.

Captain Rojas admits that some informants could be guerilla or paramilitary plants setting up traps - so police intelligence officers corroborate any tip-offs, slowing response times.

And though police vow that informants' identities will be protected, leaks are a concern. There is already thought to be widespread guerilla and paramilitary infiltration of most state authorities and many businesses such as banks, to spot potential extortion or kidnap targets. "The networks are going to need very prudent management," says Mr Horlandy. "Innocent people could get sacrificed."

Business leaders remain optimistic that one of Mr Uribe's key aims - restoring confidence - can be achieved. But they warn that bringing peace to the highways will only be a first step in solving Cesar's problems.

Farmers complain of huge debts that stifle any chance to invest. Agriculture has been decimated by foreign competition since 1990, and the area of land being cultivated in Cesar has fallen almost 60 per cent, halving agricultural employment.

Economic problems have exacerbated the violence, says Joaquín Tomás Ovalle, manager of Cesar's Association of Agricultural Products, by forcing jobless peasants to join the armed groups to support themselves. "Cesar cannot just be a laboratory for protecting the roads. We need irrigation, different crops," says Mr Ovalle, an Uribe supporter. "We could have a thousand tanks on the roads but if people are dying of hunger they will go on committing crimes."

Noticias sobre Colombia | Plan Colombia | AGP

4. Colombian rebels found stealing government money

Xinhuanet 2002-08-29 10:45:59

*BOGOTA, Aug. 28 (Xinhuanet) — Colombia's Attorney General Luis Osorio said Wednesday the country's largest guerilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), has stolen a total of 4.8 million US dollars from the government's bank accounts.

**Osorio said in a report his office has recently detected 800 accounts held by the FARC in 11 banks in Colombia, and found the guerilla group has cloned the Foreign Ministry's account number, and stole about 600,000 dollars every month from government's money in the past eight months.

**The discovery was made during an investigation launched four months ago when authorities found key clues to expose FARC's finance. The probe began after police seized a truck loaded with 800,000 dollars on a road to the Tunja city and found in the eastern state of Arauca a personal computer containing FARC's financial information.

**The 17,000-strong armed group has used the stolen money in operations including drug smuggling, Osorio said.

**The Attorney General's office suspects the FARC has obtained help from inside the banks. It is looking into a possible involvement of bank officials and checking bank accounts held by other government departments. Enditem

Noticias sobre Colombia | Plan Colombia | AGP


By Alfredo Castro, ANNCOL Bogotá, 03.09.2002

In revenge for a recent offensive by leftwing rebels against the Colombian security forces in the Huila department, paramilitary units working with the Colombian army in the area have launched a series of attacks of the civilian population whom they say support the rebels.

In a recent offensive launched by leftwing guerillas of the FARC in Huila department in southern Colombia at least eight soldiers and police were killed by the rebels during four days of heavy combat. In response to the guerillas attack the paramilitary death squads have now turned their guns against the civilian population.

In a threat released by the paramilitaries on August 16th they said that they would soon be moving into the department of Huila and murdering anyone that assisted the FARC in any way including those that donated food and medicine to rebel units. They also said that they would respect the security forces and never attack them.

Early morning of August 25th in the 'Jose Eustasio Rivera' neighbourhood of the town of Neiva, Huila department, two young men were murdered by paramilitaries in a pool hall. They were Diego Alexander Valencia Sanchez (34) and Albeiro Cardozo Guzman (21). According to witnesses, the killer was Carlos Augusto Serna Osorio from the town of El Toro in Valle department who had just left the army some weeks previously and joined the paramilitaries.

Meanwhile in other human rights violations carried out during the weekend of August 24th - 25th paramilitaries executed 23-year-old student Rafael Peña Reyes in the city of Barrancabermeja. The paramilitaries murdered Peña on Saturday in the Cincuentenario neighbourhood of the city after accusing him of supporting the FARC rebel group and of encouraging fellow students to join the rebel movement.

In a separate incident also on Saturday a death squad wearing regular army uniforms but with their faces covered opened fire indiscriminately at the customers of a roadside restaurant called 'Bola Roja' on the highway linking the cities of Medellin and Cali. At least one person was killed by the gunmen who also 'disappeared' another three people including the restaurant owner Jaime Ospina Ospina whom they accused of selling food to guerillas. According to reports at least four other customers were badly injured during the attack.

[Read more at]

Noticias sobre Colombia | Plan Colombia | AGP