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Cable 1002: The Aftermath of Paramilitary Demobilization in Northern Colombia

Cable 1002: The Aftermath of Paramilitary Demobilization in Northern Colombia

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Published by Andres
This is a 2007 US embassy report describing continuing violence and organized crime activity by former members of demobilized right wing paramilitary groups in the department of Guajira in northern Colombia.
This is a 2007 US embassy report describing continuing violence and organized crime activity by former members of demobilized right wing paramilitary groups in the department of Guajira in northern Colombia.

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Published by: Andres on Nov 20, 2012
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12/04/2012

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O 102144Z MAY 07FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5061C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 003307SUBJECT: GUAJIRA'S UNIQUE SOCIAL PROBLEMS CONTINUEPOST PARAMILITARY DEMOBILIZATION
Classified By: Political Counselor John S. Creamer.Reasons: 1.4 (b) and (d)
-------Summary-------
¶1. (C) Community leaders and local officials saidsecurity had improved in Guajira since theparamilitary demobilization, but some ex-paramilitaries continued their criminal activities.Several said most of the department's problems werenot security related, but reflected entrenchedsocial problems. The Wayuu indigenous population,which represent over 40 percent of the Guajira'sresidents, possess dual Venezuelan and Colombiancitizenship, and have different customs and legalrights, frequently clash with the department'sother residents. The Department's border withVenezuela and geographic isolation from the rest ofColombia further complicate security anddevelopment. End summary.
 
 
-----------------------------Partial Security Improvements-----------------------------
¶2. (C) In Poloff's trip to Guajira on March 22,Acting Mayor of Riohacha Lain Lopez said securityhad improved since the paramilitary demobilization;homicides fell from 194 in 2005 to 109 in 2006.Still, some ex-paramilitary members continued theircriminal activities. In northern "Alta" Guajira inUribia, a faction of the ex-paramilitary's NorthBloc (approximately 50 members) that did notdemobilize was still active. The MAPP/OAS regionalanalysts said this group--led by a former militaryofficer known as Pablo--was trying to displace theWayuu to gain control of narcotrafficking routesand other illicit activities. In the remainder ofthe department, small groups of delinquents use thename of the Aguilas Negras to intimidate thepopulation. Their main activities are extortion,narcotrafficking, and smuggling.
---------------------------------------------Public Forces Trying to Maintain the Pressure---------------------------------------------
¶3. (C) DAS Director John Cuellar said the publicforces recently captured 11 ex-paramilitary NorthBloc members and several weapons caches. MAPP/OASanalysts noted in southern Guajira, the publicforces have conducted several operations againstex-paramilitaries from the Counterinsurgency Wayuu
 
Bloc. The most recent operation took place inDibulla in late March, when the public forcescaptured three of its leaders and killed fourothers. Cartagena Battalion Commander ColonelRoosevelt Leon said the main problem he saw werealliances of small criminal groups. These groupswere mainly involved in the logistics of the narco-business. The influx of AK-47s and other automaticrifles from Venezuela is also a concern.
--------------------------------------- Manual Eradication Results Questionable---------------------------------------
¶4. (C) Col. Leon said the Police were conductingmanual eradication of coca crops near the area ofoperations of the FARC's Front 19 (approximately250 members) in southern Guajira. Still, the levelof coca cultivation and trafficking seemedunchanged despite greater manual eradicationefforts. Leon thought manual eradication was lesseffective than spraying, since the growers replantthe fields once the eradicators leave. Withspraying, it takes much longer for the growers tobe able to use the land again.
-----------------------------------------Guajira's Main Problems, Social in Nature-----------------------------------------
¶5. (C) Secretary of Government Adalberto Redondosaid the majority of Guajira's problems were notsecurity related, but stemmed from lack of

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