A most welcome visitor Luis Eladio Pérez’s visit
May 142008

Because we’ve been accompanying Luis Eladio Pérez on his visit to Washington, we’ve had little time at the computer to analyze yesterday’s remarkable extraditions of most of the old AUC leadership. You, the reader, probably have a fuller idea of what has been happening during the past 24 hours.

Nonetheless, our initial take on the extraditions is: Whether this is good news or bad news hinges on the truth of one part of President Uribe’s statement yesterday.

The Government has asked, and the United States has accepted, that the State and People of Colombia may send representatives to the trials to be conducted in the United States, in order to continue the quest for the truth – the truth about the crimes investigated, most of them committed before this administration came into office; the truth  in relation to trials already in progress, propitiated by the firmness of our security policy.

Further, the judicial cooperation agreements with the United States will make it easier to exchange evidence, and for the Colombian authorities to obtain evidence in the United States. The United States has reiterated its commitments on these points.

Now that they have little to lose – and probably feel that they owe nothing to Colombia’s political and economic elites -  the paramilitary leadership may be more willing than before to talk about who helped them over the years, what their financial and logistical networks looked like, and perhaps what happened to their victims. From a jail cell in Miami with little hope of leniency, they have little incentive to stay quiet and protect those who helped them.

The question is whether those who wish to share such information will be able to do so. President Uribe and his government must be held to the statement above. Colombian investigators must have the access to the paramilitary leaders necessary to fully and aggressively comply with the “quest for the truth.”

If they have this access, and if the paramilitaries decide that they have no reason not to talk about those “on the outside” who helped them over the years, then yesterday’s extraditions are a triumph for the fight against organized crime and lawlessness in Colombia.

If they do not – if the paramilitary leaders, like most extradited narcotraffickers before them, are held incomunicado or remain silent in their jail cells – then it will be a tragic victory for the politicians, economically powerful individuals and military officers who made paramilitarism possible in Colombia. If that happens, we would find that President Uribe did nothing more yesterday than banish into a silent exile some of the star witnesses of the “quest for the truth.”

41 Responses to “America’s newest prison inmates”

  1. Chris Says:

    I like this blog… it’s right on. It correct in every sense and neutral in thought.

  2. Sancho Says:

    So most of the major witnesses in the parapolitics scandal have been sent out of the country, where they will go on trial for crimes other than the parapolitics scandal? You’ve got to hand it to Uribe. That’s downright Machiavellian.

  3. Kyle Says:

    Adam, good outlying blog. I think it comes down to this. While people, including victims groups have been clamoring over this, there are two lines of thought regarding incentives for paramilitary fighters. The first one is that the incentive to talk (reduced benefits) has been removed. There is no positive reason for them to talk about their crimes; oft not mentioned is that, according to this logic, there is no incentive for them to keep quiet. The only one I can think of is so that drug trafficking can continue in Colombia less abated; that’s a favor they’d be doing to all the drug trafficking groups. The point is they have little reason to keep talking about anything.
    I also think, in the second line, that they must feel betrayed by the Colombian state. Their worst fear has been realized, and in their minds, against the promises of the state. This would give them at least an emotional reason to talk at least about the para-politica. The problem is, because of the government’s calls for truth, justice and reparations, the paramilitary leaders may feel they can spite the government by keeping quiet on these issues.
    On a side note, everyone just seems to be hastily analyzing things, almost with a more emotional than rational response. Well done on laying it out basically, objectively and analytically.

  4. maremoto Says:

    In fact, however, cases in which a big-time drug dealer receives a long prison sentence are very rare. But one-time offenders and innocent bystanders get sentences ranging from a few years to life without chance of parole.

    This is not just a technical problem that needs to be corrected. These injustices are inevitable in any plan to prosecute victimless crimes. Without victims to testify, the state must offer bribes to truly guilty people to provide testimony against truly innocent people – padding the arrest and conviction records of drug agents and prosecutors.

    The drug kingpins have plenty of names to give the prosecutors, and so they obtain reduced sentences by fingering others. But the low-level drug runner has only one or two contacts to offer, and the innocent bystander knows no one he can turn in – so these people wind up with the worst sentences.

    The drug warriors may want you to believe that only drug kingpins go to prison. But in 1998 alone, according to the Justice Department, 682,885 Americans were arrested on marijuana charges – 88% of whom merely for possessing marijuana. A recent study by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice estimated that the total prison population of the U.S. reached 2 million sometime around February 15, 2000. More than half of those are non-violent offenders according to the report.

  5. Jaime Bustos Says:

    In fact I Agree with Chris. Adam is one of the most independent establishment’s blogs on Colombia you can find around.

  6. Patrick Higgins Says:

    Using quotes from interviewed family members of paramilitary victims, it seems to me that AP writer Toby Muse is attempting to persuade readers that the extradition process will actually impede the truth from coming forth. Link:

    Though the article is worth noting, I lean-with the rest of those commenting today-towards agreeing with Adam’s analysis. However, though these individuals will likely shed light on a lot of important concerns during the process of these trials, their loose tongue’s may also create new problems.

    With almost nothing to lose surely the extradited leaders will give away a great deal of information, both true and false. In all likelihood they will throw many of those who are guilty (especially their adversaries) ‘under the bus’ while keeping quiet about guilty friends. Indeed, they will also make false allegations against some of their adversaries that may be innocent. It is my persuasion that while many of the guilty will be brought to justice, many guilty individuals will also get away unscathed. Adding to this, many innocent people (or relatively innocent people) will be falsely indicted and may even serve time. We might be looking forward to a classic witch-hunt in these trials.

    I am not sure how secretive the trials will be carried out, if at all, as it doesn’t seem so at this point (I would encourage anyone to shed light on that for me). Surely, keeping the trials out of the public eye’s view will make for a much less convoluted process and subsequent outcome.

    Hopefully these trials will serve as a deterrent, moreover that their outcome will be a victory for rule of law in general. Success is contingent on delicate factors however, (I think) mostly in regards to the way that the trials are conducted. Though I am optimistic overall, for some innocent people and many effected by the crimes of these individuals the outcome of these trials will be much less than a cause for celebration.

  7. Jaime Bustos Says:

    Patrick, not sure if you can read Spanish, but judging by many a fact, these people soon will pass into oblivion.

    The following columns appeared in a prestigious weekly Colombian magazine.

    This article, questions GOC protective attitude toward the paras, in the face of lots of uncovered evidence, including recordings, pointing to wrong doing in jail. Published 05/19/2007.

    Algo huele raro

    This one is an official declaration by GOC, denying all uncovered evidence against jailed paras May 19 2007

    Algo huele raro

    This one anticipates what soon to be extradited trafficker Fabio Enrique Ochoa would declare in court, May last year. It’s worth noticing ever since he was sent to the US his testimony’s never heard of again.

    El hombre del cartel

    This one, exposes paramilitaries in jail advanced negotiations status with USA’s justice, going on for a year or so, in January this year.

    Visa USA

    Judge for yourself.

  8. maremoto Says:

    a deterrent ? against what ? the law of supply and demand…wow

    Lefevre In Jailhouse Interview: ‘I Just Needed To Get Out Of There’

    Lefevre, who is currently being held at Los Colinas Women’s Detention Facility, told NBC affiliate KNSD-TV on Tuesday night that she made a big mistake in 1975 when she went along with a friend to deliver some drugs.

    http://www.knbc.com/news/16082632/detail.html

    Video: Jailhouse Interview Part 1
    Part 2 | Part 3

    “It was a couple of hundred dollars worth of drugs — a transaction that my friend did — and I was just there in the car,” Lefevre said in the jailhouse interview.

    Lefevre said an undercover agent arrested both of them. She said she thought she would be put on probation, but instead she received a 10- to 20-year prison sentence.

    yeeeeehaaaa

  9. maremoto Says:

    # Jaime Bustos Says:
    May 14th, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    In fact I Agree with Chris. Adam is one of the most independent establishment’s blogs on Colombia you can find around.

    Isn’t that like a back handed compliment ?

    anyways, I do agree that Mr. Isaacson has integrity. I saw you recently specify clearly “drug-money-fueled warlords” … appreciate the context but we could do more, no ?

    no…too many economic, political, racial, military benefits to the “war on drugs”…for the same creeps who benefit politically from a dangerous world

  10. Jaime Bustos Says:

    Maremoto, the only thing one can do is let out one’s impotence, that this world, with all its obscure interests and actions, bring forward to people like me.

    It’s been a while since I accepted, people tend to be corrupt if they are given the opportunity.

    Only in the place of work, different companies, I have found people performing in the highest ranks with a questionable knowledge, attitude or foresight into the matters which they are responsible for. Not to mention middle range sluggards.

    Likewise, too many people benefit from illegal drugs trafficking, you mention them, even people who are not aware they do.

    Paraphrasing a Pink Floyd Title. Welcome to the Machine.

  11. maremoto Says:

    yep but guess what ?

    pink floyd welcome to rage against the machine

    u know what their Achilles heel is ? that they claim to be acting for the good of society when in fact they are not

    yep, I know the msm goes along with their baloney but there are ways to get around that corrupt corporate practice

    Jaime, and Mr. Isaacson, aren’t you folks curious as to why I have researched the issue so much ? lol

    stay tuned

  12. Jaime Bustos Says:

    Maremoto, I can praise myself of having researched on the topic too.

    Heard about Mike Ruppert or Gary Webb? the latter having “committed suicide” with two shots in the head? :-)

  13. Camilla Says:

    I think the para thugs have every reason in the world to be mad at President Uribe for shipping them off to the Supermax (that is, unless some idiot jury, convinced by a shady leftwing lawyer, sets them free) which is what they have coming to them. Given that they will be mad, and that every leftist in the universe will be looking for them to say something that indicts President Uribe, they will take the leftists up on their offer and tell fantastic tales of selling drugs to President Uribe and other fake stories. The left, of course, will believe them – the more fantastical the tale, the better. The left, which is desperate to believe the worst about President Uribe and damn the facts, right there has an incentive to believe the Paras. The Paras, meanwhile, with that eager willing audience willing to give them attention and believe them so long as their tales are outrageous, will also have an incentive to make up fairy tales. Prepare for them because they are coming.

  14. Sergio Méndez Says:

    Adam:

    I disagree. It is not clear that paramilitary leaders have any reason to tell the truth now. In the US they will not recieve benefits for admiting having commited massacres or to have displaced peasants ¿Why will they, since confessing any further crimes will make them look in a worse way before the jury?

  15. Jaime Bustos Says:

    Mr. Milla, it’s the first time you address paramilitaries as “thugs”. CONGRATS! ;-)

  16. rainer cale Says:

    Adam and his compañeros in HRW, WOLA, Ivan Cepeda etc. (all of which I respect) need to be careful in their reaction to the news. According to the Colombian press, so far they have indulged in a knee-jerk condemnation of the extradition, calling it the ultimate failure of the Justice and Peace Law and so forth.

    This sort of reaction is as unintelligent as Uribe’s inarticulate temper tantrums, and is just as damaging to credibility.

    One can only empathize with Uribe’s exasperation when faced with Adam’s and José Miguel Vivanco’s statements over the past couple days.

    Their suggestion that the extradition is a way to prevent the paramilitary chiefs from turning on the “ventilador,” i.e. revealing more para-political connections, is patently absurd. As everyone here has pointed out, the paramilitary chiefs will now turn on the ventilador like never before, if only to get revenge for Uribe’s “incumplimiento” (to use Jorge 40’s words).

    Adam and Jose themselves have now begun to ackowledge this with more tempered statements. The language coming from human rights groups, civil liberties groups, victim’s rights groups within Colombia, however, remains remarkably one-sided. The NGOs are portraying the extradition as a sinister move by Uribe to help the paras escape justice, to protect Mario Uribe from the para-politics scandal, to protect Uribe himself, etc.

    Come on. Get an intelligent argument together. As it stands, the Victims’ Rights groups, by taking this position, have become the para chiefs’ biggest ally and their one faint hope for eluding justice.

  17. lfm Says:

    OK. I’ll try to be measured, something that doesn’t come naturally to me when thinking about Uribe. The honest truth is that nobody knows right now what will be the net effect of the incentives and disincentives the paras now face to come clean about their massacres and, more importantly, their backers in the legal political system, the Army and the economic elites. Only time will tell.

    Another lesson we’ve learned in the past few years is that the events are not always foreordained the way the powers that be think. The “parapolitics” scandal is sort of an unintended consequence of the initial deals with the paramilitary because, at the end of the day, powerful as the government is, other actors also matter such as the judiciary, the NGOs, other governments and so on. So, even if there is a shrewd uribista plan behind these extraditions (as I happen to believe), there are so many unknowns in the future, so many new actors involved (US courts, juries, you name it) that they may work out beautifully. With all my dislike of Uribe, I think that he planned this thing but realized that it was a gamble and may ultimately come to regret it.

    Now, was this a deliberate plan to silence the star witnesses in the parapolitics? Like I said, I don’t know. Deep inside I believe it but I have no smoking gun to prove it. But we can run a “smell test” to see how it pans out. To that end, let’s look at the sequence of events:

    When the Law of Justice and Peace came into being, the paramilitary were not even close to a sound military defeat. If anything, their military apparatus was in much better shape than what the FARC’s is right now. In these matters the situation on the ground determines the deal you get. If you’re against the ropes, you’re hanging for dear life, you have to accept any deal you get. That wasn’t the case with the paramilitary. That is circumstantial evidence that the Law of Justice and Peace was a pretty good deal for them.

    Second, the current Law is not the one the government offered. The current Law is the result of substantial revisions by the Constitutional Court, that was not part of the initial negotiation. So, if the law looks tough right now (not so sure about that one, either), it’s not what the government intended.

    Third, the government now says that extraditions were the only way out because the paras were committing crimes from jail. But the government had been saying all along that this was not true, that the paras were safely behind bars. And, at the end of the day, it was the government’s responsibility to make sure that they were not committing crimes while in custody. So it now turns out that the government is using as an excuse its own failure (either willing or through dereliction, your pick). Huh?

    Fourth, the government is giving more rich excuses. It also says that the paras were not disclosing all their goods. But as readers of these blog know, the judicial apparatus in charge of Justice and Peace was badly understaffed from day one. So, it is not really that surprising that all these things were happening and, again, it was the government’s responsibility to prevent them.

    Summing up: the government brought to jail some folks it had not been fighting, it offered them a Law they liked enough to go along with it. Then, against the government’s wishes, the law got tougher. As it got tougher, the government did little to enforce it, while claiming that everything was great. Now, the government uses the same enforcing problems it had been denying to say that it had to extradite them. We are now told that this may either pull the chestnuts out of the fire for the government or that it may actually blow open lots of cases. Which one you believe depends on this: either this was a huge setup with some hidden agenda or the government had an incredible change of heart, reversing its policy of years of feet dragging in just a matter of days. I’ve reported, you decide.

  18. Tambopaxi Says:

    Adam’s conditional acceptance of the transfer of the para leaders to the States makes sense to me.

    If these guys get the Super Max as Camilla says, that’ll put an end to their cozy in-house relations with Colombian authorities and their direction of para ops in Colombia – short, they’ll be out of action for many years to come.

    The second part of an acceptable deal on these guys is, as Adam says that they be made available to Colombian investigators and prosecutors so that they can squeeze maximum info out of these thugs for use against their allies in Colombia, whoever and wherever they might be (and I include Uribe amongst those possibilities, should it come out that has indeed been involved with the para leaders).

  19. Chris Says:

    I haven’t seen, or might have missed a mention of the FTA specific to this extradition…

    is it possible that this is in part an attempt to show a harder line against paramilitaries in an effort to reengage on the FTA with democrats in Congress?

  20. lfm Says:

    Chris: I’ve also heard that theory and today’s Washington Post is actually all over the FTA based on this. I guess it’s not an either/or thing. All these factors could have played a role. But I have the feeling that the US Congress will not do much about the FTA between now and November.

  21. rainer cale Says:

    Chris- Re: FTA this one small piece was in El Espectador yesterday (May 14):

    “The White House expressed its hopes that the extradition of the paramiliatary leaders motivate Congress to approve the FTA with Colombia. ‘One would certainly hope that this (the extradition) will persuade Congress…the Democrat leaders in Congress, in particular Nancy Pelosi, that she see this as another sign,’ said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.”

    lfm- “But the government had been saying all along…that the paras were safely behind bars. And…it was the government’s responsibility to make sure that they were not committing crimes while in custody…”

    This is not altogether true. The police did raid Mancuso’s cell block at Itagui and confiscated all sorts of cash, weapons, etc. And this was a factor in Uribe’s decision to extradite. Other hard evidence taken during the recent operation against the Mellizos was also a factor. Another factor, according to El Espectador, is the murder of 23 union members in 2008 alone, some of which murders the Colombian Justice Dept has traced back to the jailed para leaders.

    So while the para leaders were obviously in serious breach of the lenient terms placed on them by the Justice and Peace Law, the government was acting more or less responsibly and was not trying to distort the matter, pretending that everything was dandy and so on, as you portrayed.

  22. Jaime Bustos Says:

    rainer cale Says:

    The police did raid Mancuso’s cell block at Itagui and confiscated all sorts of cash, weapons, etc. And this was a factor in Uribe’s decision to extradite.

    Nope. This article in EL Tiempo news, accounts for a GOC declaration, according to which the episode was a setup against their parakids.

    Sindicato del Inpec niega que guardias hayan planeado montaje contra ‘paras’ en cárcel de Itagüí

  23. maremoto Says:

    with all due respect folks, this is the cause for the symptoms we keep witnessing and discussing (u know Pablo Escobar etc etc )

    Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding and for his great leadership on human rights throughout this hemisphere and throughout the world.

    Mr. Speaker, it is almost impossible to listen to the chairman of the Committee on Rules claim that this is an open rule. Perhaps the word `open’ to him means open only to Republicans; Democrats need not apply with amendments.

    This bill has been called an emergency because we have an emergency in the drug abuse situation in our country. Indeed, we do. Mr. Speaker, 5.5 million people in America are in need of substance abuse treatment, but this rule is closed to any consideration of those people. It allows 10 minutes for an amendment to consider military assistance to Colombia in order to eradicate the coca leaf which flies in the face of all of the research on how we reduce demand in the U.S.

    But do not take my word for it.

    As the distinguished ranking member referred to earlier, the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Obey), the Rand report, which was put together, the research was sponsored by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, by the U.S. Army, and the Rand’s Drug Policy Research Center, this report says that for every dollar spent on treatment on demand is 23 times more effective than coca leaf eradication in the source country. What that means, Mr. Speaker, is that if one wants to reduce substance abuse in this country 1 percent, one would spend $34 million, $34 million on treatment on demand; and that 1 percent reduction in the source country would be $723 million for the same result.

    Yes, we have an emergency in our country. Mr. Speaker, 5.5 million, as I said, Americans are in need of substance abuse treatment. Two million of them are receiving it, and 3.5 million people are in need.

    My amendment for $600 million would have addressed the need of 5 percent of those people, 5 percent; and yet this rule closed us down to have these Members on both sides of the aisle recognize the need in our own country for treatment on demand and for prevention. It is a dollar better spent. Everyone agrees to that. It has a result that is documented, and yet we could not even have an amendment.

    How can we have a drug bill on this floor that talks about the emergency of substance abuse in our country that does not allow $1 to be spent on prevention and treatment on demand? It simply does not make sense.

  24. maremoto Says:

    hey Jaime I read about Rupert and Webb… how cynical but true to form in how this government engages in criminal conduct every day in broad daylight with the connivance of others

  25. maremoto Says:

    The Gilman/Goss/Delahunt/Farr human rights condition amendment

    Reps. Porter Goss (R-Naples, Florida), Benjamin Gilman (R-Middletown, New York), William Delahunt (D-Quincy, Massachusetts) and Sam Farr (D-Salinas, California) introduced an amendment that would have conditioned military assistance to Colombia on the following:

    1. Agreement by the government of Colombia to a strategy to completely eliminate illicit drug cultivation by 2005;

    isn’t that the funniest freaking thing you’ve ever read??

    the words “Porter Goss” and “human rights” …. hilarious

  26. Sergio Méndez Says:

    Rainer:

    Again, I ask in all fairness….¿What incentive will have paramilitaries to confess other hideous crimes they commited or their ties with narco politicians, being judged in the US?

  27. Jaime Bustos Says:

    Anybody read the Interpol report about the computers? There is something quite strange on their findings, thousands of files created, deleted, or modified after March 1 2008, day of the Colombian attack. Am I reading right?

  28. boz Says:

    The report very clearly states “no evidence of modification, alteration, addition or deletion.” There were files accessed without a read-only copy made between March 1-3, but Interpol’s forensics experts spent thousands of hours to show that nothing had been changed.

  29. jcg Says:

    User files and system files are different, Jaime. The report itself explains as much.

    Merely turning the computer on and off, or even reading documents (included among the user files), can create, delete or modify system files. Even if you don’t try to do anything, system files will be affected.

  30. Jaime Bustos Says:

    Thanks, jcg. Still having trouble with the 2009 timestamps, but guess there’s also an explanation for that. :-)

  31. Jaime Bustos Says:

    jcg, Have you heard about disk imaging? In forensic science, this method is used to make an image of a disk to another disk, independant of the operating system the suspect disk was created or operated with, guaranteeing no information is lost or modified, as it copies the original disk in a sector by sector basis. This software also has the ability to write protect the port connected to the suspect’s computer so no system files are created destroyed or edited in the process. Hmmm it seems I am becoming a computer forensic expert by only browsing the net for 10 minutes.

  32. jcg Says:

    The report describes imaging a bit too. That’s one of the things that the two Interpol guys from Australia and Singapore (from their respective police forces, in essence) did.

    Unfortunately, that was not done in Colombia before the whole mess was publicized in an improvised manner on March 3.

    The personnel who first handled the machines were either not properly informed about the legal requirements of computer forensics or simply did not respect them. If that had been the case…

  33. Jaime Bustos Says:

    Thanks for sharing your point of view jcg It does not correspond to headlines in yesterday’s news outlets worldwide btw.

  34. jcg Says:

    I’ve read my share of headlines that make me angry or at least roll my eyes, one way or another, so that is no surprise.

    The Interpol report has three (technically four) main findings, and the press is focusing only on the last (or even misleading by saying that Interpol is certifying the claims and their content). I quote:

    “Upon completing their computer forensic examination, INTERPOL’s experts concluded:

    Finding 1: The eight seized FARC laptop computers, USB thumb drives and external hard disks contain a total of 609.6 gigabytes of data, including documents, images and videos.

    Finding 2: All seized FARC computer exhibits were accessed by Colombian authorities between 1 March 2008, when they were seized, and 10 March 2008, when they were handed over to INTERPOL’s computer forensic experts.

    -Finding 2a: Access to the data contained in the eight seized FARC computer exhibits by the Grupo Investigativo de Delitos Informáticos of the Colombian Judicial Police between their receipt at 11:45 a.m. on 3 March 2008 and their handover to INTERPOL’s computer forensic experts on 10 March 2008 conformed to internationally recognized principles for handling electronic evidence by law enforcement.

    -Finding 2b: Access to the data contained in the eight FARC computer exhibits between 1 March 2008, when they were seized by Colombian authorities, and 3 March 2008 at 11:45 a.m., when they were turned over to the Grupo Investigativo de Delitos Informáticos of the Colombian Judicial Police, did not conform to internationally recognized principles for handling electronic evidence by law enforcement.

    -Finding 3: INTERPOL found no evidence that user files were created, modified or deleted on any of the eight seized FARC computer exhibits following their seizure on 1 March 2008 by Colombian authorities.

  35. Jaime Bustos Says:

    jcg, so, I hope you agree, those computers and their documents are worth what they weigh in turd. all as a result of bungling idiots :lol:

  36. Jaime Bustos Says:

    jcg, I should have known better, the interpol report conclusions have already been assessed by several people and the implications are spreading like wildfire – Just google keywords.

  37. rainer cale Says:

    In response to Sergio- Adam expressed it concisely enough in his post:

    “Now that they have little to lose – and probably feel that they owe nothing to Colombia’s political and economic elites – the paramilitary leadership may be more willing than before to talk about who helped them over the years, what their financial and logistical networks looked like, and perhaps what happened to their victims. From a jail cell in Miami with little hope of leniency, they have little incentive to stay quiet and protect those who helped them.”

    And, I would add, given the operative philosophy of “si caemos unos, caemos todos” they have incentive to inflict maximum damage upon “those who helped them,” since they have now been betrayed by those people.

    I agree that the concern for victims is that the extradited para leaders will confess crimes only insofar as the confession serves to exact this revenge.

    Before the extradition, however, there was no incentive at all. Confessions of human rights violations, locations of mass graves, reparations–it simply wasn’t happening, as this blog has often documented.

    It is also arguable that a favorable political environment exists in the US and Colombia–what with Ambassador Brownfield’s and Uribe’s assurances, the Democrat-controled Congress, etc.–to make the inevitable reduction of jail time faced by the para leaders (probably from 35 to 15 years) conditional upon not only confession of narcotrafficking crimes, but also confession of human rights violations and reparations in Colombia.

    I am not versed in the relevant legal nuances, but if this is at all possible, CIP, HRW, etc., should now dedicate considerable effort to sustaining and consolidating the favorable political environment and to creating the mechanisms necessary to make this incentive a reality.

    Jaime Bustos- thanks for the clarification.

  38. Jaime Bustos Says:

    rainer, you’re always welcome

  39. Sergio Méndez Says:

    Rainer:

    The logic of “vengeance” (assuming this whole extradition stuff wasn´t pacted between the US goverment, the colombian goverment and the para leaders) doesn´t make sense. If paramilitaries are being judged ONLY for drug traffic related crimes [sic], then why will they want to add to their criminal record confesions about illegal ties with politicians to commit massacres or push peasants out of their land? That wouldn´t make sense, it will only made them look worse before the jury, and may ruin whatever deal they can make with US authorities, exaging jail time for information.

  40. Adam Isacson Says:

    “One can only empathize with Uribe’s exasperation when faced with Adam’s and José Miguel Vivanco’s statements over the past couple days. … Adam and Jose themselves have now begun to ackowledge this with more tempered statements.”

    Beg pardon? Due to the Pérez visit taking up nearly every waking moment, this blog post was the only statement I was able to make about the extraditions last week.

    My position didn’t evolve at all, I only had time to express it once, and rather hastily at that.

  41. Global Voices Online » Colombia: Paramilitary Leaders Extradited to the United States Says:

    [...] Isacson, from Plan Colombia and Beyond, also posted on the issue: Now that they have little to lose – and probably feel that they owe nothing to Colombia’s [...]

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