archivos de los protestos globales

Colombian Government advances negotiations with death squads!!

By: ColumbiaWatch, Occtaional News Services from
December 2, 2002

According from ANNCOL, the Colombian Interior Justice Minister Fernando Londoño confirmed that contacts between the national government and the death squad umbrella organisation AUC (Colombian Self-defense Units) have been made toward an eventual formal negotiation process, and right before the case fire begins, the militias killed eight more peasants...

  1. Colombian Government advances negotiations with death squads (ANNCOL Stockholm)
  2. Dec 1: Colombia militias kill eight, cease-fire begins (Reuters)
  3. Nov 29: Colombia Paramilitary Declares Cease-Fire (Assoicated Press)
  4. Nov 28: Colombia makes arrests in murder of US activists (Reuters)
  5. Nov 27: Colombia Strips Special Military Powers (Assoicated Press)

1) Colombian Government advances negotiations with death squads

By Maria Engqvist, ANNCOL Stockholm

Talks between prominent bishops, Government envoys and death squad leaders might mark the first step toward legalization of Colombia's feared killer networks: the AUC

On Monday, the Colombian Interior Justice Minister Fernando Londoño confirmed that contacts between the national government and the death squad umbrella organisation AUC (Colombian Self-defense Units) have been made toward an eventual formal negotiation process.

The ultra-right criminal bands are nominally outlawed but are closely allied to the Colombian armed forces and are believed to enjoy support from sectors of the Colombian Congress especially the parliamentarians supporting extremist President Alvaro Uribe.

The exact outcome of the negotiations are kept secret, but it is rumored that some kind of legalization of the death squads might be underway. Apparently certain prominent clergymen have participated in the talks

According to the Prensa Latina news agency, Cardinal Pedro Rubiano, president of the Colombian Episcopal Conference (CEC), confirmed that some bishops met with the highest ranking death squad officers to explore a possible agreement.

Monsignor Rubiano did not reveal the date of the meeting but said prelates attended it from Antioquia and Córdoba departments, where the AUC death squads have their main camps.

[Read more at]

2) Colombia militias kill eight, cease-fire begins

BOGOTA, Colombia, (Reuters) - The bodies of the latest eight victims of Colombian right-wing outlaws were found Sunday as the bulk of the paramilitaries began an unprecedented cease-fire to pave the way for peace talks with the government.

The eight peasants were killed between Friday and Saturday, before the cease-fire, in a rural area of Antioquia province about 125 miles northeast of Bogota, said police Col. Pedro Antonio Molano.

The Bloque Metro paramilitary group, which has more than 1,000 members, operates in the region.

It has refused to join the largest paramilitary outfit, the 10,000-member United Self Defense Forces of Colombia, in a unilateral cease-fire.

An AUC paramilitary chief, who declined to be named, told Reuters that the cease-fire had begun as planned throughout the country on Sunday.

It is the first time the illegal anti-rebel force has declared a cease-fire, although the AUC has previously suspended hostilities over the Christmas holiday.

"As of zero hours (0500 GMT) we started the cease-fire. We are optimistic that this historic decision will contribute to the peace of Colombia," the paramilitary leader said.

The government of President Alvaro Uribe, who took office in August pledging to stem a conflict that claims thousands of lives a year, says he will negotiate with any outlaws — including Colombia's more than 20,000 Marxist rebels — if they end hostilities first.

AUC leader Carlos Castano could win judicial immunity if peace talks took place, possibly blocking U.S. efforts to have him extradited to face drug trafficking charges.

The paramilitaries evolved from vigilante groups set up by cattle ranchers in the 1980s to defend against Marxist guerillas, but are now heavily involved in the cocaine trade.

12/01/02 20:44 ET

3) Colombia Paramilitary Declares Cease-Fire

.c The Associated Press

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) - The Colombian government reacted positively Friday to a declaration of a unilateral cease-fire by a feared paramilitary group that has waged a brutal campaign against leftist rebels and their supporters.

President Alvaro Uribe was already studying the communique in which the right-wing United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia pledged to begin an indefinite cease-fire on Sunday, said presidential spokesman Ricardo Galan.

“He finds it intriguing,” Galan told The Associated Press. “It seems to be a good step forward.”

Galan said Uribe would even consider an amnesty for the paramilitary leaders. The loose association of right-wing militias number more than 10,000 gunmen and has been accused of committing the most atrocities in Colombia's war.

The declaration by the paramilitary umbrella group, known in its Spanish initials as the AUC, came after it held secret exploratory talks with the government, facilitated by the Catholic Church. The cease-fire declaration - which effects about two-thirds of all paramilitary fighters - was sent to the AP on Thursday and then posted on the AUC Web site on Friday.

In it, the AUC appealed to the Catholic Church to supervise formal peace talks and asked for the United Nations and the Organization of American States to also participate.

Cardinal Pedro Rubiano, the most senior prelate in the country, is willing to facilitate the talks, the Archdiocese of Bogota said in a statement. There was no immediate reaction from the United Nations or the OAS.

However, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, on a visit to Colombia, expressed hope that some of the millions of Colombians who have been displaced by the war could begin returning to their homes.

“We are going to do everything needed in order for the displaced people to be able to return home,” said Ruud Lubbers.

The paramilitary group also asked UNICEF to immediately receive all child soldiers in the AUC's ranks.

AUC bosses Carlos Castano and Salvatore Mancuso face numerous criminal charges in Colombia and are both wanted in the United States on charges of drug trafficking. Possible amnesty for them is “something we'll be looking at,” Galan said.

The president has the power to pardon those who later participate in peace negotiations, Attorney General Luis Camilo Osorio told reporters.

Although the development raised little hope that an end to Colombia's 38-year war was in sight - mostly because leftist rebels have rejected appeals for them to declare a cease-fire - the AUC statement engendered hope that at least the fighting might be less bloody.

“Colombians are tired of this conflict,” said Senate President Luis Alfredo Ramos. “I hope that the national government and the president can establish communication with all the illegal groups.”

The paramilitaries arose in the 1980s as a vigilante force formed by drug traffickers and ranchers trying to defend themselves against rebel murders, kidnappings and extortion.

The AUC encompasses about 70 percent of all paramilitary fighters in Colombia. But a paramilitary front nominally under Castano's control - the Metro Block which operates around Medellin, Colombia's second largest city - decided not to participate.

Of the remaining paramilitary groups which are not AUC members, two of them - or more than half - declared Friday they would join the cease-fire on Thursday.

The AUC's cease-fire declaration said its members could still defend themselves against rebel attacks.

The paramilitary group asked the government to guarantee the security of those living in areas occupied by AUC members, fearing possible attacks by the rebels, and for financing as it pulls out of the fighting and drug trafficking trade.

11/29/02 16:48 EST

4) Colombia makes arrests in murder of US activists

BOGOTA, Colombia, (Reuters) - Colombian police have arrested three suspected leftist rebels accused of participating in the killing of three American rights activists in 1999, authorities said on Thursday.

Rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — Latin American's most powerful guerilla force — kidnapped and killed U.S. citizens Terence Freitas, Ingrid Washinawatok and Laheenae Gay in February 1999 while the Americans were helping the U'wa Indian tribe defend its land from oil exploration.

The three Americans, whom rebels accused of being members of the CIA, were tied with nylon cords, blindfolded and shot and their bodies dumped across Colombia's northeastern river border with Venezuela.

The suspects — Orlando Triana, Aroldo Buitrago and Juan Lopez, known as "Gut" — were paraded in handcuffs before journalists in Bogota. The men, members of the FARC's 45th front, were captured on Tuesday near the town of Cubara, in eastern Colombia.

In April, the United States indicted two FARC chiefs, including German Briceno, and four other FARC members — none of whom was among those just captured — for the "terrorist murder" of the three Americans.

The United States has long contended the murders were ordered by Briceno, who is one of the FARC's regional commanders and the brother of the FARC's top military commander, Jorge Briceno, known as "Mono Jojoy."

Numbering 17,000 mostly peasants, the FARC has been fighting the government for 38 years to impose a socialist state. The war kills thousands of people every year.

11/28/02 18:55 ET

5) Colombia Strips Special Military Powers

.c The Associated Press

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) - Colombia's highest court has stripped military and civilian officials of special powers in two security zones created to increase state control over the front lines in the nation's 38-year-old civil war.

The Tuesday night ruling by the Constitutional Court was a setback to President Alvaro Uribe's efforts to reassert government authority in territory controlled by insurgents.

One of the areas affected is comprised of 26 towns in Bolivar and Sucre states in northern Colombia. The other encompasses three towns in the eastern state Arauca, along the Venezuelan border.

Uribe established the two so-called Rehabilitation Zones in September to give the military the authority to make arrests, conduct searches and use wiretaps without warrants. The presidential decree also gave the interior minister power to issue identification cards and restrict travel within the zones.

Foreigners were specifically targeted, prompting protests from international media organizations that the requirements restricted freedom of the press.

The high court ruled that most provisions of Uribe's decree were illegal, and threw out nearly all the special military and civilian powers as well as the travel restrictions on civilians.

The court also ruled that the interior minister could not override the authority of the elected governors in Sucre and Bolivar state.

Justice Alfredo Beltran, author of the court's opinion, said the only way the government could give police and judicial powers to the military would be “through constitutional reform.”

The court upheld the government's authority to establish a unified military command in the area, however, and its right to conduct a census of all gun permits in the zones.

The two zones are overrun by leftist rebels and right-wing militias. Rebel attacks have continued despite the extraordinary powers granted authorities. Four municipal officials have been murdered in Arauca state since Uribe issued the decree.

Military authorities have rounded up hundreds of people in the zones, although most were released after a brief investigation. It was unclear how the ruling would effect the estimated 100 people still detained in Arauca state on suspicion of being rebels.

Colombia's 38-year civil war pits leftist rebels against the government and right-wing paramilitary groups. About 3,500 people, mainly civilians, die in the fighting each year.

On Wednesday, five rebels with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, were killed in fighting with the army in a rural area outside Chuscales, a village 30 miles east of Bogota in Cundinamarca state, the army said.

A police officer was also killed in fighting with FARC rebels in a rural area outside of Valledupar, 410 miles north of Bogota, in Cesar state, RCN TV reported. Seven soldiers were wounded in the same clash.

11/27/02 21:22 EST

Noticias sobre Colombia | Plan Colombia |