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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BOGOTA 004167 SUBJECT: MEDELLIN'S REINSERTION PROGRAM Classified By: Ambassador William B. Wood for reasons 1.5 (b) and (d) ------Summary ------1. (C) In December 2003, 874 members of the Cacique Nutibara Bloc (BCN) demobilized in Medellin. Since that time, the Mayor of Medellin's office has been implementing a reinsertion program that has provided education and unpaid employment for almost the entire bloc. Community outreach and psychological counseling are integral parts of the program. Murder in Medellin has dropped by about two thirds since 2002. Although concerns about behind-the-scenes paramilitary influence over the city and slow judicial processing remain, Medellin's program is tracking and re-socializing the participants. With significant adjustments, the basic structure could be applied to the national government's reinsertion program, which is responsible for 4,000 ex-paramilitaries and should receive several thousand more. End Summary.

-----------------Medellin's Program -----------------2. (C) In December 2003, 874 members of BCN demobilized in Medellin. Mayor Sergio Fajardo's office designed and funded its own reinsertion program rather than rely on the national government's program. Unpaid public works projects and education courses are required to receive a monthly stipend of approximately USD 260. An additional USD 80 per participant each month is used for social services and education. In contrast, the GOC's program provides a stipend of USD 150 per month and is trying to budget an additional USD 160 per participant each month for reinsertion services. 3. (C) The Medellin program focuses on work, education, and psychological assistance to resocialize the former paramilitaries to civilian life. -- Employment: As of April 2005, 807 were involved in unpaid public works projects. Twenty are exempt from the work requirement because they are disabled or deemed to be too high a security risk. Of the 807, 32 of the highest performers were hired as paid employees. The reinsertion program tries to expose participants to a wide array of employment opportunities and the importance of education. To track this, reinsertion officers ask the

beneficiaries on a monthly basis what careers interest them. In December 2003, 655 did not answer the survey, none were interested in higher education, and only 94 wanted to finish high school. By February 2005, 350 were interested in the arts, 78 in social work, 127 in higher education, and 382 in finishing high school. -- Education: 488 are in primary or secondary school classes and 106 are in post-high school vocational training (sales, cooking, woodworking, construction, and auto mechanics) or college preparation with the National Apprenticeship Agency. Twenty-nine are studying at a university. -- Psychological Assistance: The Mayor's office contracted ten psychologists, who have conducted one-on-one interviews with 811 former BCN members. For more serious problems, psychological attention is available in local clinics to former BCN members, their families, and community members. At least 311 have used these services. -- Tracking: 855 BCN members are being closely tracked by the electronic tracking and monitoring system (designed by IOM, the International Organization for Migration, a USAID grantee). There are 10 tracking officers, each with a case load of about 85 members. They conduct periodic personal interviews, home visits, and serve as the main point of contact with the local government.

-----------------Community Outreach -----------------4. (C) The program is also designed to help local communities adjust. Many neighborhoods had been under de-facto paramilitary control before the demobilization. In areas where the ex-BCN members live, over 9,000 residents have participated in "human development" workshops, over 4,600 in community integration activities, and 2,400 in forums on preventing domestic violence. On behalf of the Mayor's office, IOM conducted a poll among residents living in neighborhoods with the demobilized. According to the results, 76 percent think the presence of ex-BCN members is beneficial to their neighborhood and 84 percent think the Mayor's office is effectively facilitating reinsertion. However, 46 percent believe some demobilized will, or already have, returned to illicit activity. 5. (U) Violence and crime are at all time lows in Medellin, a city of about 3.5 million people. In 2001, there were 3,479 murders compared to 3,721 in 2002, 2,013 in 2003, and 1,177 in 2004. Murder rates for the first three months of 2005 are about half of what they were the year before. These murder rates would leave Medellin on par with U.S. cities such as Baltimore or Memphis. ----------------------Those Not Participating -----------------------

6. (U) Of the original 874, 58 are not receiving benefits: 30 are in jail for crimes committed before or after they demobilized, 20 have died violently or accidentally, one was ineligible because he had demobilized and received reinsertion benefits prior to 2003, and the bloc's seven commanders are ineligible on the grounds of being BCN "representative leaders." -------------The Challenges -------------7. (C) Some problems remain: -- Insufficient Time: Fajardo decided the original 18-month program was too short and extended it until the end of his term in 2007. He told poloffs that many former paramilitaries need intensive re-socialization to teach them to live under state control and not take the law into their own hands. Until this resocialization is complete, placing them in private sector jobs would be a liability. The extension will help ensure that the demobilized are trained and monitored for an additional two years, but will be a large expense. -- Slow Judicial Processing: At least 630 members have been issued clearance from the Department of Administrative Security (DAS) certifying there are no warrants for their arrest. Upon demobilizing, 388 had open cases

against them. Of these, 205 still have pending charges. None of the BCN members have been officially pardoned under Law 782. Local officials from the Prosecutor General's Office (Fiscalia) and judges have complained about a lack of guidance in determining which crimes are pardonable. According to Law 782, demobilized members of an illegal armed group can be pardoned for the political crimes of rebellion, sedition, conspiracy to commit a crime, and other connected, minor crimes. The local prosecutor is responsible for determining which crimes are connected based on general guidance from the criminal code. Another point of confusion is that, according to the criminal code, paramilitarism is a common, rather than political, crime, and cannot be pardoned. -- AUC Presence: AUC commander Diego Murrillo continues to dominate parts of the city despite being in the concentration zone in Santa Fe de Ralito. Fajardo told poloffs that he is aware that drug traffickers, especially Murrillo, have maintained a presence, but that the security forces are committed to driving them out of the region. -- Other Demobilized: There are several hundred paramilitaries, who demobilized from other blocs, living in Medellin and participating in the GOC's reinsertion program. The national program is less organized and does not offer as many services as the Mayor's program. Fajardo said the inconsistency has not caused problems thus far, but that he was watching it carefully.

--------------Lessons Learned --------------8. (C) The Medellin reinsertion program is wellstructured and facilitates close monitoring of participants by requiring work and study in exchange for the stipend. The model would need to be adjusted to function in other areas with large concentrations of former paramilitaries. Medellin is a cosmopolitan metropolitan area with a relatively high per capita income (almost 20 percent higher than the national average) and a vigorous local economy. Medellin also has a localized group of demobilized, a relatively wealthy municipal government, and extensive institutional infrastructure. Most of the other areas in which the demobilized would be rehabilitated are in relatively poor rural areas producing bananas or traditional crops for local production. They do not have sufficient local funds or infrastructure to provide the same reinsertion services. Finding qualified professionals to help integrate the demobilized or deserters will be a challenge. Resources and personnel would have to be brought in from national government agencies or other sources. Given the national priority placed on this effort, the human resources could be found, but the financial drain on the federal budget will be enormous and the Medellin experience implies that it will be a multi-year effort.

------Comment ------9. (C) national level of Even so, to really WOOD (Edited and reading.) reformatted by Andres for ease of Medellin's program has advantages the program does not, especially a higher literacy and a more homogenous sample. it took more than a year for the program take hold.