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Cable 990: New Criminal Groups Emerge from Demobilized Paramilitaries in Colombia

Cable 990: New Criminal Groups Emerge from Demobilized Paramilitaries in Colombia

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Published by Andres
This is a 2007 US embassy report on the emergence of new drug trafficking and organized crime groups composed of former members of demobilized right wing paramilitary groups in Colombia.
This is a 2007 US embassy report on the emergence of new drug trafficking and organized crime groups composed of former members of demobilized right wing paramilitary groups in Colombia.

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Published by: Andres on Jul 04, 2012
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12/16/2013

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O 131719Z FEB 07FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2681C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 001033SUBJECT: NEW CRIMINAL GROUPS ARE LAW ENFORCEMENTTHREAT, SHADOW OF EX-PARAMILITARIES
REF: A. 06 BOGOTA 4750B. 06 BOGOTA 10691C. 06 BOGOTA 6262D. 07 BOGOTA 581Classified By: Political Counselor John S. Creamer.Reasons: 1.4 (b) and (d)
-------Summary-------
1. (C) The GOC and OAS say the new criminalgroups that have appeared in certain regions lackthe organization, reach, and military capacity ofthe former AUC. Rather, they are primarilydecentralized criminal operations that have usedsome demobilized paramilitaries, as well the formerAUC's informant and drug processing/distributionnetworks, to continue narcotrafficking and otherillegal activities. To date, the GOC's efforts tocombat these groups and internal criminal feudshave resulted in 150 deaths, 909 captures, and 234
 
arrest warrants issued. The GOC believes the newgroups are a law enforcement matter, not a nationalsecurity threat, and is targeting themaggressively. End summary.
------------------------------------- Who are the Emerging Criminal Groups?-------------------------------------
¶2. (C) The GOC and the Mission to Support thePeace Process in Colombia (MAPP/OAS) estimate thereare 21 new criminal structures with roughly 3,000members, among them common criminals, narco-traffickers, demobilized paramilitaries, andparamilitaries who never demobilized (ref B). Mostleaders are former mid-level paramilitary membersbut, on average, demobilized paramilitaries accountfor less than 20 percent of the groups' members.¶3. (C) MAPP/OAS analysts say these groups arewell-armed, but widely dispersed. They appear tohave no political ideology, common organization oroperations. They fight the FARC and ELN in Metaand Vichada for control of illegal activities, but,in general, do not mount the counterinsurgency-typeoperations conducted by the AUC. An exception isNarino, where OAS/MAPP head Sergio Caramagna andlocal UN High Commission for Refugeesrepresentative Roberto Maier told us members of theOrganizacion Nueva Generacion cooperate with theColombian military to combat the FARC. On thenorth coast, which was formerly controlled byparamilitary leader Jorge 40, the FARC and ELNpresence is minimal, and the criminal groups
 
function as an urban mafia.¶4. (C) Institute for Development and PeaceStudies (Indepaz) Director Camilo Gonzalezconfirmed to us on February 9 that the new groupsdo not consider themselves counterinsurgencyforces. Their size and operations are much smallerthan the former paramilitary forces. Still,similarities include their geographic areas ofoperations and the types of illegal activities inwhich they engage. Gonzalez said most group memberswho have died have been killed in internal battlesover control of activities, such asnarcotrafficking and extortion.¶5. (C) Despite some of the differences betweenthe former AUC and the new criminal groups, theGOC's Communities at Risk Program Director SandraPinzon said on February 1 that grass rootscommunities suffering from the groups' criminalactivities do not distinguish between them and theAUC. MAPP/OAS regional representatives agree,saying they have heard complaints that some newcriminal groups use AUC emblems and otherinsignias, such as the Black Eagles, or "
AguilasNegras
," to instill fear. Still, the groups lack anational network such as the AUC, and onlycooperate with each other when it advances theirfinancial interests. Colonel Jose Humberto Henao,who is in charge of a special squadron to combatthe groups in Norte de Santander, told us onFebruary 7 the national "myth" of the
AguilasNegras
began in Norte de Santander, but he has notseen a broader effort by the group to expand itsoperations beyond the area.

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