The FARC answers a letter The candidates and Colombia
Nov 012008

I apologize for the scarce posting this week. We’ve been busier than usual putting together two trips: a delegation to Ecuador right after the elections, and a visit of Colombian human-rights defenders to Washington mid-month.

A lot, meanwhile, has been going on:

  • On Wednesday President Uribe fired twenty-seven officers, including three generals, for their apparent involvement in the abduction and killing of more than a dozen young men in the Soacha slum on Bogotá’s outskirts. Months later, the victims’ bodies showed up hundreds of miles away, presented as armed-group members killed in combat by the military. The firings are the most significant human rights-related purge in the Colombian military since 1999, when over a several-month period the government of Andrés Pastrana fired Generals Rito Alejo del Río, Fernando Millán and Alberto Bravo.
  • Election Day is Tuesday in the United States – if you live here, vote. Here, from the “Just the Facts” database of news links, are links to all recent coverage of Colombia that we have seen mentioning Barack Obama and John McCain.

3 Responses to “Friday links (Saturday edition)”

  1. Jaime Bustos Says:

    Adam, be careful in planning your security when travelling to Colombia:

    MEDELLÍN

    Atentan contra testigo de asesinato de alias ‘Job’, Lina Cataño salió sin lesiones de consideración.

    Fue atacada por dos hombres que se movilizaban en una moto mientras transitaba en su automóvil por el centro de Medellín. Escoltas de la testigo resultaron heridos luego de un violento tiroteo.

    Según fuentes de la Policía Metropolitana, uno de ellos recibió cuatro impactos en la cara, el tórax y un brazo, mientras que el otro fue impactado en el cuello.

    La testigo, sin embargo, apenas tuvo una herida en la clavícula y se encuentra fuera de peligro.

    Al parecer esta se dirigía a la Corporación Democracia, donde trabajaba como apoyo administrativo.

    Cuervo estaba con ‘Job’ el 28 de julio pasado en un prestigioso restaurante de la vía a Las Palmas de Medellín cuando sicarios lo abalearon.

    Al parecer ella había rechazado la escolta del programa de testigos de la Fiscalía, por lo que la Policía le asignó dos efectivos suyos.

    Severo Antonio López alias ‘Job’, es el ex paramilitar que se hizo célebre por sus reuniones en el Palacio de Nariño con el secretario de prensa de la Presidencia, César Mauricio Velásquez, y con el abogado Óscar Iván Palacio.

  2. lfm Says:

    When I was a child I was a fan of detective novels and then dropped the habit. So, being so out of shape, I´m bound to get this entirely wrong. But I would like to ask some questions, to see if someone out there can help me piece this together.

    1. I´ve been hearing for quite a while, from sources I consider reliable, that the paramilitaries run a large smuggling operation (”San Andresitos”) all over the country, especially in Bogota and Cucuta. From another source, usually VERY well informed, I recently heard that the men that showed up dead in Ocanna (notice the geographical proximity) were told that they were supposed to do some “job” involving contraband. Either this is a coincidence, or the paramilitary had a hand in this “false positives.” Any information out there that may help?

    2. I rarely read Zuleta Lleras in El Espectador, but this Sunday I happened upon his column where he talks about a “cartel of rewards” but then sort of muddles the whole thing. Anyone has heard more about this?

    3. Putting items 1 and 2 together, one could come up with a hypothesis: the Ocanna murders were not just a matter of some soldiers aching to get to see their moms on Mother´s Day as some people want us to believe. That somehow doesn´t pass the “smell test.” If that were true, the Army has being recruting a bunch of psychos and the Defense Minister himself MUST step down over this. Don´t give me bullshit about “a few bad apples.” But if the “psycho” thing isn´t true, and again, I doubt it is, then there´s something more sinister going on: the paramilitary seem to have found a way to funnel money from the “rewards” program toward their operations. After all, many of them work hand-in-glove with elements of Army. (No, I´m not saying that all ther Army. There are good officers out there. But, hey, you have to be delusional to deny this… oh, never mind, I forgot that this forum thrives on delusions.)

    4. If this second scenario is the right one, that raises some issues. The paramilitary control smuggling in Cucuta and sets up a shadowy operation with the Army, the same one that has been “unable” to stop them, that “incidentally” gets young men killed, in return of money. Can this go on without people in VERY, VERY high places knowing??? Is the Minister of Defense an idiot?

  3. Jaime Bustos Says:

    lfm you and I already know the answers to these quations by simply applying elementary logic and by not having been born yesterday. Unfortunately the way things work is as follows:

    1- Nothing wrong is happening unless the most read newspapers say so.
    2- Nothing wrong happens unless a criminal in power owns the faults up (i. e. never)
    3- Nothing wrong happens as long as none of your family or acquaintances comes across a damned assassin that targets him for murder.

    The world is a virtual world, and sometimes I think it’s the only way you can get up at 7 am, get your tie around your neck and rush through the crazy traffic to your workplace, without thinking you are part of a stupid charade.

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