Colombian Uribe death squad scandal

This video is called Colombian President’s Brother May Have Lead Death Squads.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Uribe ‘should face investigation’ over death squad chief video

Thursday 08 September 2011

Video testimony from a jailed death-squad chief accusing former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe of sponsoring his illegal armed group was presented to Congress on Wednesday.

In the video, Pablo Hernan Sierra said he organised a militia operating from the Guacharacas ranch in 1996.

The ranch in Antioquia state, where Mr Uribe was then governor, was owned by the ex-president’s family.

Representative Ivan Cepeda, who presented the tape, said the video was recorded last month when he visited the prison where Mr Sierra is imprisoned for murder.

“I believe the time has come that the country launches an investigation into former president Alvaro Uribe for the presumed creation of paramilitary groups and for criminal acts that these groups committed in Antioquia and in many other places across the nation,” Mr Cepeda said at a news conference.

Mr Cepeda’s aides said Mr Sierra had been convicted of killing an indigenous leader.

See also here.

Colombian Senator: Death Squads Met At Uribe’s Ranch: here.

Former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe linked to international drug trafficking through Sinaloa Cartel: here.

Colombia the most dangerous place in the world to be a trade unionist: here.

The former head of Colombia’s secret police was convicted September 14 of homicide and conspiracy in connection with the death squad murder of a popular sociology professor and human rights activist: here.

Paramilitaries Likely to Continue Terrorizing Colombia Even After a Peace Deal – VICE News: here.

23 thoughts on “Colombian Uribe death squad scandal

  1. Sep 14, 6:28 PM EDT

    Former Colombian spy chief sentenced to 25 years

    Associated Press

    BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia’s Supreme Court convicted on Wednesday a former director of the country’s domestic intelligence agency for colluding with illegal far-right militias and sentenced him to 25 years in prison.

    The court found Jorge Noguera, 47, guilty of criminal conspiracy for providing right-wing death squads with lists of leftist activists and labor union leaders, some of whom were subsequently killed.

    Noguera was chief of the Administrative Department of Security, known as the DAS, under then-President Alvaro Uribe from 2002 to 2005. He resigned amid reports, which later proved true, that the agency was infiltrated by the illegal militias, known as paramilitaries.

    The sentence was the stiffest imposed on a member of Uribe’s 2002-2010 administration.

    Uribe remains extremely popular for major security gains during his two-term presidency but his legacy has been tarnished by the criminal convictions of several dozen political allies found guilty of conspiring with paramilitaries.

    Shortly after his resignation, Uribe appointed Noguera as Colombia’s consul-general in Milan, Italy, one of several diplomatic appointments by Uribe of political allies who would later end up in prison or under criminal investigation.

    Noguera was also found guilty of destroying and hiding public documents. He was ordered to pay a $1.9 million fine and $89,000 in restitution to the relatives of college professor Alfredo Correa de Andreis, who was murdered by paramilitaries in 2004. Correa had been investigating the paramilitaries’ role in the forced displacement of farmers on the Caribbean coast.

    The conviction of Noguera was based on documents found in the computer of a paramilitary and testimony from the DAS’s former computer chief, Rafael Garcia.

    Uribe had steadfastly defended Noguera even as other top officials from his government came under the scrutiny of prosecutors. Two of Uribe’s closest aides are currently jailed, one accused of corruption for allowing political cronies to receive agricultural subsidies, the other for allegedly ordering the DAS to spy on judges, journalists and politicians.

    One Noguera’s successor as DAS chief is also under investigation in the illegal espionage case. She has obtained political asylum in Panama with Uribe’s help.

    Uribe responded to the verdict on Wednesday via Twitter: “I have trusted him, if he had committed an offense, it pains me and I offer apologies to the citizenry.”

    Leftist congressman Ivan Cepeda said it was “very telling that ex-President Alvaro Uribe has defended with so much insistence this official.”

    Cepeda said the conviction “isn’t dealing with any upright and honest official, as ex-President Uribe has defended him, but nothing more than a man who’s part of the structure of paramilitarism.”

    Ex-Interior Minister Fernando Londono, who served in Uribe’s government, called the verdict “a manifest injustice.”

    Londono warned that the conviction showed “they are going for President Uribe … because the DAS didn’t answer to any ministry but directly to the president of the republic.”

    Uribe maintains he never asked anyone to break the law.

    © 2011 The Associated Press.

    See also here.


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  7. COLOMBIA: The office of the country’s top prosecutor jumped into a presidential feud between a past and current president yesterday, summoning Alvaro Uribe to substantiate suggestions that drug money went into the campaign of current President Juan Manuel Santos.

    The office demanded that Mr Uribe should appear and show any evidence he has to support his call for an investigation into whether Mr Santos’s 2010 election campaign received money from drug traffickers.


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  13. Landfill ‘known for years’ as dirty war boneyard

    by Our Foreign Desk

    COLOMBIAN forensic experts began excavating the suspected mass grave yesterday of as many as 300 victims of right-wing death squads.

    The Escombra landfill site outside Medellin, the country’s second-largest city, could be the biggest mass grave in the the history of the US-backed dirty war against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc).

    Three sections of the site have been cordoned off while investigators search for victims’ remains. A camp is also being built for the relatives of the disappeared.

    The search is complicated by the fact that construction debris has been continuously dumped on the site for more than a decade despite pleas by victims’ families for it to be closed and excavated.

    “For years we denounced forced disappearances on a large scale and nothing was done,” said Inter-American Court of Human Rights lawyer Adriana Arboleda, whose organisation is helping victims’ families sue the government.

    “Imagine how much money and effort could have been saved if they had listened to us earlier.”

    Margarita Restrepo’s daughter Carol, aged 17, disappeared in October 2002 in the hillside Comuna 13 slum, where former president Alvaro Uribe launched the Operation Orion military offensive against Farc shortly after his election in 2002.

    The military withdrew at the end of the operation but were replaced by masked right-wing militias. Allegations of killings of civilians and disappearances multiplied.

    “If that light doesn’t shine for me, I hope it does for one of my companions,” said Ms Restrepo.

    Many of the paramilitary crimes were carried out in alliance with US-trained security forces.

    Former militia fighters including imprisoned warlord Diego Fernando Murillo — alias Don Berna — have testified that they dumped their victims in the Escombrera.

    nThe search for 43 missing students in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero has turned up at least 60 unmarked graves and 129 bodies over the last 10 months, Mexico’s attorney general’s office said on Sunday.

    Hundreds of protesters led by parents of the missing youths marched in Mexico City to call for justice in the case.


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  16. Wednesday 2nd March 2016

    posted by James Tweedie in World

    THE brother of former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe has been arrested for murder and conspiring with death squads.

    Santiago Uribe was arrested in the city of Medellin over allegations that he founded the so-called 12 Apostles paramilitary unit in the early 1990s.

    The death squad is believed to have plotted dozens of assassinations, with the collusion of local police, from the Uribe family’s La Carolina cattle ranch in the northern state of Antioquia.

    Many of the allegations are based on the testimony of Yarumal district police chief Juan Carlos Meneses, who returned from hiding in neighbouring Venezuela in 2014.

    Mr Meneses recalled last year that when he took up his post in 1994 there was already a group engaged in “social cleansing” with the support of state and national authorities. He said that the 12 Apostles not only targeted suspected Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) guerillas and sympathisers but also common criminals and drug addicts.

    He told of witnessing 15 members of the death squad, armed with assault rifles, training on an obstacle course at La Carolina.

    Mr Meneses said he also acted as a bagman for covert payments to the unit and took bribes to look the other way as they went about their bloody business.

    “When that group goes to do a job, you have to collaborate with them,” he said.

    Alvaro Uribe’s 2002-2010 presidency was marked by paramilitary massacres of peasants and assassinations of trade unionists and rights campaigners, carried out in a climate of impunity.

    His reign of terror was funded by Washington via its Plan Colombia, which saw Bogota receive more US military aid than the rest of Latin America combined, in the name of combating the drug trade.

    Hasan Dodwell, spokesman for British-based campaign Justice for Colombia, said the arrest “shines the spotlight once again on the relationship between Uribe and the Colombian paramilitaries.

    “His closest political allies, his cousin and now his brother have all been arrested for their paramilitary ties,” he added.

    “If peace is to become a reality in Colombia, it is essential not only that the paramilitary networks are fully dismantled but that there is also complete transparency as to how so much paramilitary violence was allowed to occur.”


  17. Thursday 22nd December 2016

    posted by Morning Star in World

    Testimonies implicate Uribe ally in mass killings

    SIX TOP Colombian generals have said that the former head of the US-backed army was involved in a spate of mass murders of civilians.

    Washington-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Tuesday that it had sworn testimony against General Mario Montoya, a close ally of right-wing ex-president Alvaro Uribe.

    Gen Montoya headed the army when the “false positives” scandal broke in 2008. From 2002 to 2008 soldiers slaughtered thousands of innocent civilians to inflate body counts, on which holidays and bonus payments were based.

    Mr Uribe was president throughout, stepping down in 2010.

    Gen Montoya, in charge from 2006 to 2008, has been under investigation since at least 2015 for the mass murders.

    The Colombian military has received US money and support for decades, but it was massively ramped up in the late 1990s.

    During the “false positives” period it received between $500 million (£403.5m) and $1.5 billion (£807m) a year.

    HRW said it had gained access in October to hundreds of pages of transcribed testimony that six current and retired generals made to prosecutors in closed hearings.

    The documents make clear that Gen Montoya and then defence minister Juan Manuel Santos — now president — must have known about the mass killings.

    One general said he was told to burn directives that laid out the rewards to go to the most bloodthirsty soldiers.

    Gen Montoya rose through the army’s ranks despite longstanding accusations that he allowed abuses by paramilitary groups in a 2002 military takeover of a slum in the western city of Medellin.

    He was also an ambassador to the Dominican Republic under Mr Uribe, who himself has ties to paramilitaries and death squads.

    Mr Uribe has recently fought hard against a peace deal between the government and the left-wing Farc guerilla group, saying it lets the Farc off the hook for crimes committed.

    But most of the killings in Colombia’s long civil war have been carried out by the army and right-wing death squads.

    HRW itself has not escaped controversy, with its US director Jose Miguel Vivanco notorious for unsubstantiated attacks on Venezuela’s government and siding with its frequently violent right-wing opposition.

    HRW more broadly often aligns itself with US foreign policy and frequently exchanges personnel with the US government.


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