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Cable 1026: Investigations Continue in Colombian "Parapolitical Scandal"

Cable 1026: Investigations Continue in Colombian "Parapolitical Scandal"

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Published by Andres
This is a 2007 US embassy report providing updated information on the continuing investigations into corrupt ties between Colombian politicians and outlawed right wing paramilitary groups.
This is a 2007 US embassy report providing updated information on the continuing investigations into corrupt ties between Colombian politicians and outlawed right wing paramilitary groups.

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Published by: Andres on Apr 14, 2013
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P 212235Z DEC 07FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0630C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 008652SUBJECT: CONTINUING PROBES IN PARA-POLITICALSCANDAL UNDERMINE CONGRESS
REF: A. BOGOTA 5530B. BOGOTA 7240Classified By: Political Counselor John S. Creamer.Reason: 1.4(b) and (d)1. (U) The Supreme Court and the ProsecutorGeneral's Office (Fiscalia)--with GOC support--continue to investigate politicians with allegedparamilitary ties. Former Senate President LuisHumberto Gomez Gallo was arrested on December 3,bringing the total number of congressmen in jail toeighteen. So far, 52 Congressmen, 19 mayors and 11governors have been implicated in the scandal.Congressman Erik Morris of Sucre department was thefirst Congressman to be convicted of paramilitaryties, receiving a six year prison term and a$480,000 fine. The widening scandal is erodingcongressional legitimacy, complicating GOC effortsto pass key legislation. End Summary.
------------------------- And Gallo Makes Eighteen-------------------------
 
 ¶2. (U) The Supreme Court and Fiscalia continue toinvestigate politicians with alleged paramilitaryties. Conservative Party Senator and former SenatePresident Luis Humberto Gomez Gallo was arrested onDecember 3 for alleged paramilitary ties and plansto assassinate a political rival. Gallo is theeighteenth Congressman jailed for para-politicalconnections. So far, 52 Congressmen, 19 mayors and11 governors have been implicated; four have beensentenced. Despite criticism from legislatorswithin his own coalition, Uribe continues toprovide full support for the investigations. OnDecember 13, former Cesar and governing coalitionSenator Mauricio Pimiento - currently jailed andunder investigation - called Uribe a "traitor" fornot defending para-politicians.¶3. (U) Congressman Erik Morris of Sucre (U partymember) became the first sitting Congressman to beconvicted and sentenced on December 19. Morrisreceived six years in prison and was fined $480,000for criminal conspiracy with paramilitaries.Congressman Alfonso Antonio Campo Escobar ofMagdalena - who resigned on June 4 - plead guiltyand was convicted to five years and fined $850,000on November 26. To date, only one legislator--Senator Jose de Los Santos Negrete of Cordoba--hasbeen acquitted. Nineteen former and current mayorshave been implicated, with fourteen in jail and twoidentified as fugitives. Twelve former and currentgovernors have been implicated; Magdalena GovernorTrino Luna Correa and Meta Governor EdilbertoCastro also plead guilty and have been sentenced.Six other governors are currently in prison, and
 
four are under investigation.4. (U) Successful investigations of para-politicians have not yet translated into actionsagainst businessmen, cattle ranchers, and securityforce personnel who collaborated with paramilitarygroups. In November 2006, the Supreme Court tiedcattle ranchers Joaquin Garcia and Miguel Nule Aminto its investigation of Sucre politicians' tieswith paramilitaries, but the Fiscalia has yet tocharge them. The Fiscalia announced on December 7that it was investigating four banana companies(Proban, Uniban, Sunisa-Del Monte and ChiquitaInternational). Chiquita was fined $25 million inSeptember in U.S courts for paying $1.7 million toparamilitaries over several years, but no arrestshave been made. An arrest warrant has been issuedin Medellin for businessman Raul Hasbun, whoallegedly had paramilitary ties.
--------------------------------------------------- Versiones Libres Aids Para-political Investigations---------------------------------------------------
¶5. (U) Testimony by former paramilitary leadersin the Justice and Peace Law (JPL) process has beeninstrumental in the investigation and prosecutionof para-politicians. Evidence provided by formerpara Jose Bedoya Rayo (aka "Moises") led toinvestigations of Congressmen Gonzalo Garcia-Angarita and Luis Humberto Gomez-Gallo.Paramilitary leader Ever Veloza's (aka "H.H.")testimony against Cauca Governor Juan ChauxMosquera - who was just named Ambassador to the

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