Russian police have arrested Yair Klein, a former Israeli army commando turned mercenary. Klein spent a lot of time in Colombia during the 1980s, hired by narcotraffickers to help form right-wing paramilitary groups.
Carlos CastaÃ±o, the longtime paramilitary leader who founded the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) in the mid-1990s, recalled Klein in his 2002 autobiography, My Confession.
[In 1987, MedellÃn cartel capo Gonzalo RodrÃguez Gacha, alias] “El Mexicano” came to have 1,500 men at his service. He organized the famous course of Israeli and British instructors at “La 50,” that was the name of the ranch where it happened. That’s where I knew Yair Klain [sic.]. I attended that course because there were some spaces available for people who were not RodrÃguez Gacha’s own men. The CastaÃ±os got five spaces, I occupied one of them. My nickname at the time was “El Pelao.” “El Mexicano’s” real purpose with these trainings was to prepare 400 men to attack La Uribe, where the government and the FARC were negotiating peace.
A lot has been speculated about that course given by Yair Klain, and I think that Klain was tricked into coming to Colombia, by Ariel Otero and two active and corrupt members of the Army. Ariel was a terrible man, he was the number-two man of [MedellÃn cartel figure] Henry PÃ©rez. The Israeli instructor always thought that the Colombian government had hired him to give those courses.
I was very impressed by his concepts and I never forgot what he would say: “Don’t be afraid of being called a mercenary, if you are the mercenary of a state; states have to be defended, both within the Constitution and outside of the Constitution.” This was wonderful for me to hear!
The Colombian government has already asked Moscow to extradite Klein. Let’s hope the extradition and trial happen swiftly.