Iván Cepeda’s column and Álvaro Uribe’s response What the new FARC documents tell us
May 092008

Shortly after midnight Wednesday, Colombian authorities put Carlos Mario Jiménez, alias “Macaco,” on a DEA plane and sent him to the United States to face drug charges.

Jiménez was a longtime leader of the Central Bolívar Bloc, one of the most powerful, drug-money-fueled paramilitary groups. At least as recently as last year, he was perhaps the most powerful paramilitary leader in Colombia, controlling organizations in several regions all over the country. In 2007, the U.S. government requested his extradition to face drug-trafficking charges.

“Macaco” was kicked out of the paramilitary demobilization-negotiation process last year, when evidence indicated that he was conspiring from his jail cell to ship drugs and murder enemies. He will now stand trial in the United States on charges of shipping cocaine northward. U.S. authorities are also likely to press Jiménez for information: his knowledge of Colombia’s narcotics, organized crime, and paramilitary networks is no doubt encyclopedic.

Macaco’s extradition sounds like good news, and it mostly is. But it was bitterly opposed by advocates for the victims of paramilitary crimes. The arguments are strong on both sides, and they go something like this.

Pro:

Sending Macaco to the United States sends a strong message to the remaining paramilitary leaders that they cannot continue to carry out criminal activities, in violation of the terms of the “Justice and Peace” law. When Macaco was ejected from the “Justice and Peace” process, he lost privileges like a reduced prison sentence and avoidance of extradition.

Con:

The U.S. justice system will be trying and punishing Macaco only for drug trafficking. He might never have to face a judge for the mass murder he has committed. With Macaco a continent away, his many victims will be unable to learn what happened to their loved ones. It will also be difficult to win back lands and other property he stole from victims, or to use his assets to fund reparations.

Pro:

Colombian prosecutors and investigators will be able to travel to the United States to interview Macaco. Through an 18th-century law called the Alien Tort Claims Act, victims may be able to sue Macaco in U.S. courts. With Macaco’s threatening presence out of the picture, it may be easier to take back property he stole and return it to its original owners.

Con:

Investigators may visit Macaco, but probably only for a few cases. The Alien Tort Claims Act is rarely used, and has never involved hundreds (or thousands) of plaintiffs against one defendant.

Meanwhile, we will now be unlikely ever to find out what Macaco knows about who helped him over the years. In the past, Colombian narco-traffickers extradited to the United States have taken with them their secrets about past associations.

The “para-politics” scandal must be a tea party compared to what Macaco knows. Politicians, military officers, large landowners and businessmen who colluded with Macaco must have been relieved when he got on that DEA plane.

Pro:

Did Macaco ever intend to talk about his outside support network? By some accounts, Macaco was enforcing a code of silence among the rest of the paramilitary leaders. Macaco and Salvatore Mancuso even came to blows over the issue, according to this recent Semana magazine interview with Davíd Hernández, a paramilitary witness.

Semana: Is it true that there was a fight between Macaco and Mancuso in the prison?

DH: Just after they were brought from La Ceja [to Itagüí], in the first meeting, Mancuso stood up and said, “After the way they took us here and to La Ceja, now is when we have to start throwing water at all those politicians, at all those military officers, at all those police.” Macaco opposed him, stood up and said, “You are a snitch, you can’t do that, I’m never going to do that.” And they grabbed each other and came to blows. Macaco punched Mancuso. Macaco has always said that he will not throw water at any politician, and so far he has been true to his word.

It is just as possible that, with Macaco gone, some of the other paramilitary leaders might be more willing to talk about their illicit relationships with powerful Colombians.

11 Responses to “Macaco’s extradition, pro and con”

  1. jcg Says:

    Hopefully that is indeed the case, and whatever dirt comes up is properly processed, to separate the truth from the untruth.

    Throwing water, although ugly, is necessary.

    But we need to see who is still wet, after the splashing spectacle settles down. Not just those the water is being thrown *at*.

  2. Jaime Bustos Says:

    Adam thanks for sharing your viewpoints, as to this matter, but I consider it would be fair to incorporate this article in the “Semana” mag I was able to retrieve from the internet, into your analysis, for completeness sake.

    Note: in Spanish Only

    Visa USA

  3. Randy Paul Says:

    This post, by the way, is exactly why I believe that you are probably the most credible source around on this subject.

  4. Jaime Bustos Says:

    Anybody nosticed? Camilla is gone, his contract expired! :mrgreen:

  5. maremoto Says:

    # Jaime Bustos Says:
    May 9th, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    Anybody noticed? Camilla is gone, his contract expired! :mrgreen:

    was she/he/it really a troll ? lol

    by the way, Mr. Editor, I recently saw a clip of Rep. McGovern during the vote in Congress to change the rules; I was unaware that Rep. McGovern knew Colombia so amazingly well. Don’t know why you care but thanks.

  6. Jaime Bustos Says:

    The World Bank about the FTA …

    “”It is important beyond trade because it is part of a series of reforms that support the overall agenda of Colombia, whether it be security, human rights issues and anti-narcotics efforts,” he said during a trip to Bogota. “It is part of a package supporting the success of Colombia.”

    The country’s economy has picked up under Uribe, a hard-liner on security and the White House’s strongest ally in South America. Colombia has received about $5.5 billion ($5.000.000.000) in mostly military aid from the United States since 2000.

    But the country remains the world’s biggest cocaine exporter and is mired in a four-decade-old guerrilla war with a mosaic of illegal groups battling for control of lucrative drug smuggling routes.”

    That’s what I call charismatic doubletalk! :lol:

  7. Camilla Says:

    Pro: Colombia once again shows that it’s a real democracy, there is no systemic favoritism toward paras, there’s no free lunch for killers, bad guys are bad guys and they all end up in jail.

    Con: The left has a credibility problem. It’s been selling the line that Colombia has all along been secretly in cahoots with the paras, and in fact actually is the same thing as the paras. Quick, keep the news and commentary to as low a level as possible. Make sure McGovern and Delahunt don’t acknowledge this. People might point out that they are hypocrites.

    Pro: He’s slated for the Supermax where he’ll never be heard from again.

    Con: He hires a leftwing lawyer and Sorosian drug-legalization activist who persuades an illiterate jury that he’s only misunderstood and had a bad childhood and drugs should be legal anyway. He walks off scot-free.

  8. Jaime Bustos Says:

    Oh No! speak of the devil ! :-)

  9. maremoto Says:

    Camilla Says:
    May 10th, 2008 at 10:31 am

    Pro: Colombia once again shows that it’s a real democracy, there is no systemic favoritism toward paras, there’s no free lunch for killers, bad guys are bad guys and they all end up in jail.

    wow….my dear Camilla….the only reason why there is less favoritism for paras than what President Uribe’s original Justicia y Paz blueprint was because the Court disagreed and raised penalties up to 8 years for “demobilized” paras and because of the deaths of courageous civic and labor leaders, who have been killed like flies for years in Colombia, and the ICC, the rest of the international community and Democrats in Congress; the same people you railed against earlier for their support of Authentic Democracy.

    Camilla says:

    Con: The left has a credibility problem. It’s been selling the line that Colombia has all along been secretly in cahoots with the paras, and in fact actually is the same thing as the paras. Quick, keep the news and commentary to as low a level as possible. Make sure McGovern and Delahunt don’t acknowledge this. People might point out that they are hypocrites.

    I just debunked this myth of yours of equal handedness. Besides the FARC was releasing the hostages but no, no demobilization, humanitarian accord or peace process with them, instead let’s kill the negotiator Reyes so we can pressure Ecuador for “hosting” the FARC (that pesky Correa, and the Ecuadorian civil society which elected him, gonna close our Forward Operating Location at Manta and renegotiate corrupt oil concessions and kick our CIA boys out of Ecuador’s intelligence services and military, how dare he), and what if the FARC look good enough for releasing the hostages and the world pressures Colombia for peace, then we couldn’t use Chavez’s alleged FARC links to get that Orinoco oil, boys and girls, if the FARC don’t exist as a military actor anymore, how can we then destabilize Venezuela, other than for refusing to play our little “War on Drugs” baloney? Besides if safety returns to Colombia down goes our little hostage Uribe’s popularity and then we might lose control of Colombia’s destiny. Nope, can’t have that.

    Pro: He’s slated for the Supermax where he’ll never be heard from again.

    Nope. What he deserves is secondary to what the victims of his crimes deserve Madame. Only in the United States of America is murder, genocide, less important than drug trafficking; absurd. Maybe his sizeable, and seizable, fortune is what the DEA is licking its chops at.

    Con: He hires a left wing lawyer and Sorosian drug-legalization activist who persuades an illiterate jury that he’s only misunderstood and had a bad childhood and drugs should be legal anyway. He walks off scot-free.

    Answer me one question (the same question posed by the Director of Amsterdam’s Public Health Agency posed to the United Nation Drugs Commissioner and was refused an answer over and over again even though our taxes pay his salary): Why is drug consumption lower in Amsterdam than in the rest of Europe if drugs are legal?
    I’ll tell you why: because they had no ulterior motives when analyzing a public health issue. http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle_blog/2008/mar/17/un_drug_czar_resfuses_to_answer_

    Besides with the “laws” Congress has passed, for instance “conspiracy”, which only require a criminal to accuse you and he gets benefits for doing so, absurd. Again, only in America, the worlds biggest jailer with 2.3 million people behind bars. Have you ever read Crime and Punishment? You should; any society which incarcerates at the per capita rate that the US does, and especially when the majority of people incarcerated are minorities, has failed its own people. But when states such as Texas have 2,500 separate police agencies then you look closer at the cultural aspects behind this infatuation with the Walker Texas Ranger mentality. But when it comes down to, just follow the money. It always knows.

    In the immortal words of your idiotic and creepy hero: “Bring it on”

    btw if you’re interested I can tell you the story of how drug trafficking began in Colombia. I think you need a serious reality check Miss. Sorry, for being rude earlier, but your views reflect somebody who’s not completely up to speed on Colombia’s history and reality.

  10. maremoto Says:

    one last post here for the Editor if he would be so kind as to reply:

    the first major drug trafficker, Carlos Lehder, was extradited in 1985 ? It’s been 23 years of extradition (weakening national sovereignty across the board in LatAm yet are we closer to winning the War on Drugs ? I hope you seriously don’t try to insult my intelligence with a yes to that and then the question becomes, why the farce ?

  11. El poder del narco en un contexto de pobreza « Drogas y conflicto en Colombia Says:

    [...] convertirse en gran capo tiene mucha relevancia. Eso fueron ‘Don Diego’ ‘Don Berna’, ‘Macaco’, ‘Jabón’, ‘Rasguño’ y tantos otros que en su momento comenzaron desde abajo sirviendo [...]

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