Public diplomacy… A few pictures
Oct 102008

Investigators from Colombia’s Prosecutor-General’s Office (Fiscalía) are trying to find out what happened to eleven young men who disappeared earlier this year from the poor slums of Soacha, on Bogotá’s outskirts, only to turn up in a grave hundreds of miles away, presented by the Colombian military as having been killed in combat.

Colombian President Álvaro Uribe seemed much more certain about what happened in a statement he gave on Tuesday. The ardently pro-military president repeated the Army’s assertion that the young men, while abducted illegally, were indeed killed in combat. In this version of events, the young men willingly joined an armed group that fought the army, instead of having been killed in captivity, their bodies later presented as evidence of military effectiveness against illegal armed groups.

The Prosecutor-General of the Nation confirmed that the young men disappeared from Soacha were killed in combat, that they hadn’t gone to harvest coffee, they went there for criminal purposes and they did not die one day after their disappearance, but a month after. … The Prosecutor-General specified that the Army allowed the CTI [the investigations unit of the Prosecutor-General's Office] to exhume the cadavers. For its part, the Coroner’s Office [Medicina Legal] said that the bodies had several projectile wounds, but were not executed by the Army.

Uribe cited as his source the country’s Prosecutor-General (Fiscal General), Mario Iguarán. Later that day, though, Iguarán – whose office is a separate branch of government from the presidency, although he served as the Uribe government’s vice-minister of Justice until his 2005 nomination – made a public statement of his own, contradicting some of the President’s assertions.

Was there recruitment? Yes, there was recruitment.

Was there recruitment for criminal purposes? Yes. I said and still say that they didn’t go to harvest coffee.

Who recruited them? We don’t know. We are investigating what the macabre recruitment was.

Were they killed by the Army? Yes, the Army itself admits that the troops killed them.

Who carried out the urgent acts, the inspection of the bodies? The CTI of the Prosecutor-General’s Office.

Were they killed in combat? We don’t know. We are investigating. For the moment the Prosecutor-General’s Office cannot affirm, nor can it suppose, that they were killed in combat.

Who must carry out the investigation? Only the Prosecutor-General’s Human Rights Unit can carry it out.

Can the Coroner’s Office conclude or affirm that they were killed in combat? The Coroner’s Office cannot affirm this. Only the prosecutors and, ultimately, the judges can conclude this.

Though the Colombian Presidency has since rectified its position, yielding to the prosecutor-general, it still raises questions that President Uribe was in such a rush to absolve the military in one of the country’s most shocking recent human-rights cases.

9 Responses to “Contradictory versions”

  1. Chris Says:

    “in one of the country’s most shocking recent human-rights cases.”

    Looks like you’ve already made your mind-up… kind of like Uribe, but the other way.

  2. Montserrat Nicolas Says:

    I thought that ‘Uribe Lionheart’ always tried to get his facts checked with his crew, to assure tey are always ‘on the same page’…This, however, is SLOPPY. What’s next? An un-corrupt court?
    best

  3. Chris Says:

    Montserrat,

    Is that a picture of you on the blog?

  4. Kyle Says:

    This is the second time Uribe has done this in the most recent memory (though there may be more I’m unaware of since the first I cite here). Remember the use of the Red Cross? Uribe echoed the Army’s position on it essentially without evidence to fully confirm it. Then it came out that what Uribe/the Army said did not happen as such. You would think he’d learn.
    There are two types of lies: (1) Knowing what you present as true is not and (2) Presenting information as true that you are not sure is true. It seems Uribe best be careful to stop just repeating the Armed Forces words to him. (I don’t know what happened to the 11 young men but I do know Uribe is committing the second type of lie, otherwise why rectify his position?)

  5. Jaime Bustos Says:

    Kyle, this is the product of what has been a policy of state since the beginning of the iniquitous empire of crime in the Palace of Nari, known in Colombia as “false positives’ that amount to the well know false flag operations, of which neither the head of state nor the Minister of War can convincingly declare they are unaware of . Everybody forgets too quickly, but when the cartel emissary took office for the second time, the army was caught planting and activating bombs throughout Bogotá. The only one prosecuted for that case was ironically, according to the press a woman from the FARC.

  6. Marcos Says:

    There have been “false positives” for many more years and there have also been false flag operations in the other direction, but Jaime Bustos doesn’t even want to consider this…no, of course not, and obviously the president or his cabinet (any president or any cabinet, it’s not just an Uribe thing) must always be planning the most despicable acts in minute detail while smoking a cigar. Such a cartoon-like vision or reality…it makes me want to block myself from reading these comments.

    Regards

    Marcos

  7. Jaime Bustos Says:

    Marcos nobody is forbidding you from ignoring my comments. If you don’t want to read them why just don’t skip them. You seem to not want to realize that what you are defending is a petty gang of wrongdoers and cynics. About having happened before, of course it has happened all the time, way before the 20th century to be exact. Only that doesn’t exculpate those politicians in power now from going round butchering and killing people at will.

  8. Montserrat Nicolas Says:

    Yes Chris, c’est moi (long time ago)…Now, HOW is that fact relevant when discussing the constant circus going on in the Colombian Kingdom ????

  9. Montserrat Nicolas Says:

    chris:
    abs off-topic: yes.

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