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Cable 1003: Colombian Paramilitary Leader Claims Illegal Groups Received Support from Corporations, Government, and the Military

Cable 1003: Colombian Paramilitary Leader Claims Illegal Groups Received Support from Corporations, Government, and the Military

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Published by Andres
This is a 2007 US embassy report describing the testimony of Colombian paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso, who asserted that outlawed right wing paramilitary groups in Colombia received aid and support from corporations, the government, and the military throughout the 1990s.
This is a 2007 US embassy report describing the testimony of Colombian paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso, who asserted that outlawed right wing paramilitary groups in Colombia received aid and support from corporations, the government, and the military throughout the 1990s.

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

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O 182045Z MAY 07FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5546UNCLAS BOGOTA 003618SUBJECT: MANCUSO ALLEGES PARAMILITARY TIES TOPOLITICIANS, RETIRED GENERALS, AND BUSINESSES
REF: A. 98 STATE 67029B. 99 STATE 130281C. BOGOTA 449
-------Summary-------
1. (U) Former paramilitary leader SalvatoreMancuso claimed in his May 15-16 voluntarytestimony that retired generals, top governmentofficials (including the vice-president and defenseminister), members of congress, local governmentrepresentatives, and companies had collaboratedwith paramilitaries. Mancuso claimed these tieswere "irrefutable proof" that the paramilitarymovement enjoyed official backing and sponsorship.President Uribe reiterated his commitment toexposing the truth about paramilitary crimes, andvoiced confidence in Vice-President FranciscoSantos and Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos.End summary.
 
------------ Naming Names------------
¶2. (SBU) Ex-paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancusoresumed on May 15 in Medellin the third round ofhis voluntary confession or "version libre," whichwas suspended in January. He implicated threeretired military generals--Ivan Ramirez, MartinOrlando Carreno, and Rito Alejo del Rio--inparamilitary activities. (NOTE: We revoked thevisas of Ivan Ramirez and Rito Alejo del Rio in1998 and 1999 respectively, Ramirez for terrorismties and del Rio for terrorism and narcotraffickingconcerns. Upon taking office, former PresidentPastrana removed Ramirez and del Rio from duty in1998--ref A and B.) He also identified formerNational Police Director and current Ambassador toAustria Rosso Jose Serrano as the person whointervened to release him and ex-para leaderRodrigo Tovar (Jorge 40) from prison in Guajira.Carreno and Serrano publicly denied Mancuso'sclaims.¶3. (U) Mancuso said Vice President FranciscoSantos and Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos hadboth met with him and other paramilitary leaders onmore than one occasion in the 1990s. During thistime, the vice president was a columnist for theSantos family-owned
El Tiempo
newspaper and thedefense minister was a private citizen. Mancusoclaimed Francisco Santos supported the creation ofa paramilitary bloc that operated in Bogota, andclaimed Juan Manuel Santos backed a plot to
 
overthrow then-President Ernesto Samper in 1996-97.He did not provide evidence to support either ofthese allegations. In addition, Mancuso saidPresident Uribe's cousin Mario and formercongresswoman Eleonora Pineda had entered into anelectoral pact with him. On May 16, Mario Uribepublicly denied making any deals with Mancuso.¶4. (U) Defense Minister Santos said late on May15 he met the paramilitaries and guerrillas in 1997in an effort to broker peace. He acknowledged hemet twice with former paramilitary leader CarlosCastano, but said he had also met with the FARC andELN, all in the company of intermediary AlvaroLeyva. The Defense Minister said, "If this is the'truth' Mancuso wants to reveal, then people aregoing to be disappointed." In a radio interview onMay 16, President Uribe said, "We want to get atthe truth...but it must be put into propercontext." He voiced full confidence in VicePresident Santos and Defense Minister Santos andrecognized they both had long acknowledged pastmeetings with the paramilitaries.
------------------------ AUC Electoral Activities------------------------
¶5. (U) On May 16, Mancuso said he was personallyresponsible for the election of 25 of 28 municipalmayors in the department of Cordoba, and claimedother paramilitary leaders were responsible forsecuring the election of mayors and congressmen inother departments such as Sucre. He revealed hehad

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