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The “Sixth Division”: Military-paramilitary Ties and U.S. Policy in Colombia

Valle and Cauca (Third Brigade)

The paramilitaries walk around in the middle of the day with their armbands on, and the police and military just let them pass. When official commissions come, they just take off the armbands. For all strangers know, they are soldiers.

-Former Jamundí municipal official

In "The Ties That Bind," a report that Human Rights Watch published on February 23, 2000, we detailed the record of the Colombian Army's Third Brigade, which government investigators had linked to the formation of paramilitary groups in the department of Valle.

Colombian government investigators provided us with detailed information showing that in 1999 the Colombian Army's Third Brigade helped set up a paramilitary group, called the Calima Front. Investigators from the Attorney General's office told Human Rights Watch that they had compiled compelling evidence linking the Calima Front to active duty, retired, and reserve military officers attached to the Third Brigade along with local landowners and hired paramilitaries taken from the ranks of AUC. According to these government investigators as well as eyewitness testimony obtained by Human Rights Watch, the Third Brigade provided the Calima Front with weapons, intelligence, and logistical support and coordinated actions with them.110

During its January 2001 mission to Valle, Human Rights Watch received further information linking the Third Brigade to the formation and deployment of the Calima Front. Moreover, far from moving decisively to cut these links, punish the officers responsible, and arrest paramilitary leaders, the Colombian government has done little to address this grave problem.

To the contrary, the relationship between the Third Brigade and the AUC, which includes the Calima Front as one of its principal forces, continued through 2000 and resulted in one of the most violent offensives registered in Colombia that year. During 2000, the AUC claimed to have established four more units in the region: the Farallones Front, the Pacific Front, the Páez Front, and the Southern Liberators Front. The AUC used these units to carry out its well-publicized plan to

seize the departments of Valle, Cauca, and Nariño and to set up a permanent presence.111

"Again and again and again we send early warnings to the government about threats of massacres, but nothing is ever done," one local human rights defender told Human Rights Watch. "Government commissions have come several times, but we never see any result. The massacres are carried out regardless."112

The Calima Front

During its January 2001 mission, Human Rights Watch interviewed "Felipe," an adolescent who worked for Third Brigade intelligence when the Calima Front was formed. At the time of our interview, Felipe was in protective custody ordered by the Attorney General's office because of threats to his life.

Felipe told Human Rights Watch that he began working for the Third Brigade when he was fourteen, collecting intelligence on guerrillas in return for money. He also worked for the Palacé Battalion, part of the Third Brigade, and accompanied army units on operations.113

"The first meeting I attended that was between paramilitaries and the army was about March of 1999, in the headquarters of the Third Brigade in Cali," Felipe told Human Rights Watch. "They were gathering together all of the details about the rich people in the area so that they could contribute money to bring the paramilitaries into the region."114

Felipe identified two high-ranking Third Brigade officers as among those who attended the meeting. A man calling himself "Marcos" represented the AUC, Felipe recalled. "Marcos called me a couple of months later and invited me to work with the paramilitaries," Felipe said.115

Felipe told Human Rights Watch that he worked with soldiers who spent their vacations moonlighting as paramilitaries to obtain extra cash. "They told me they were paid U.S. $ 500 for one month of work," Felipe said.116

Soon after the initial meeting, Felipe said, army units lent support to the paramilitary advance that began in July 1999 near Buga and Tuluá. Officers, he said, coordinated constantly with paramilitaries in the field, using cellular phones and radios.117

The Palacé Battalion, part of the Third Brigade, has its headquarters in Buga and is responsible for the region. "I was there when the Palacé Battalion lent one of its pick up trucks to the paramilitaries, who used it on an operation. But the guerrillas burned it up," Felipe said.118

The attack in which the army pick up truck was destroyed took place near the villages of La Moralia and Monteloro. It is believed to have been among the first carried out by the AUC with Third Brigade coordination and support. At the time, an AUC leader calling himself "Román" told local journalists that paramilitaries had come "because many people have asked us to be in this area, since they are tired of the attacks by the guerrillas. "119

In August, paramilitaries attacked the village of El Placer, near Buga. "Two paramilitary trucks filled with armed fighters passed right through an army roadblock on August 23," one social worker who spoke on condition of anonymity told Human Rights Watch. "Once they were in the village, the paramilitaries killed two people. Others told us that the trucks had actually left the Palacé Battalion right before the killings."120

AUC fighters reportedly arrived in El Placer after midnight, forced residents out of their homes, and seized Anacarsis Morantes and Amadeo Valderrama.121

Four months earlier, Valderrama had been detained and photographed by Palacé Battalion soldiers, who accused him of helping guerrillas. According to local aid workers, in early August, both Morantes and Valderrama had fled to Buga after the first paramilitary incursion. After local authorities guaranteed their safety, they returned to their farms. Government investigators later confirmed that a census taken of the displaced was sent to the mayor's office in order to obtain emergency assistance. The mayor's office then delivered the list to the Palacé Battalion. The names of both Morantes and Valderrama appeared on the list.122

Among the paramilitaries residents accused of identifying Morantes and Valderrama was "Tatabro," a former guerrilla-turned-army informant and paramilitary who regularly stayed at the Palacé Battalion and dressed in a camouflage uniform. Before paramilitaries killed the men, Tatabro reportedly lifted his hood and was identified by residents.123

"Sometimes [soldiers] would put TATABRO at the battalion entrance for road blocks and to help search," another witness told investigators. "He was the one who said who among them he knew who were passing in cars and who should be searched, they had him there to identify people."124

Government witnesses and local residents interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that the army did nothing to pursue or capture paramilitaries.125 Even as Palacé Battalion commander Col. Rafael Hani denied their presence, local police were filing regular and detailed bulletins on the Calima Front's advance. One witness to an emergency meeting hosted by the mayor of Buga and attended by Col. Rafael Hani, Palacé Battalion commander, told government investigators that the officer dismissed reports that there were paramilitaries in the area. People claiming to be "displaced" by violence were simply guerrillas, Colonel Hani reportedly said.126

Another government witness who worked as an army intelligence agent and had regular contact with paramilitaries told investigators that Colonel Hani was considered by paramilitaries to be among their best allies. "[Colonel Hani] was the one who helped paramilitaries the most by providing them with food, money, "tiger"-style camouflage uniforms, anything they needed."127

For months afterwards, residents told us, paramilitaries were permanently based in the region. "In the center of Valle, a lot is known about the paramilitaries, but the operations aren't carried out to capture them," said a high level government investigator.128

Investigators identified several permanent paramilitary bases in the region, among them one located on the "La Iberia" farm near Tuluá. After a visit to the region, the Office of the UNHCHR reported that it had informed the government on March 24, 2000 of the existence of this base. Nevertheless, neither the army nor police took any action against it and the base remained in place throughout 2000.130

Road to Buenaventura

After establishing itself in central Valle, the AUC began to push south and west, targeting the road connecting the city of Cali to Colombia's main port of Buenaventura. Residents point to the May 11, 2000 massacre that took place near Sabaletas, Valle, as the starting point of a paramilitary offensive. There, residents told a government investigative mission, at least eighty heavily armed and uniformed men killed twelve residents and abducted five others.131

Previously, residents told the UNHCHR mission, members of the security forces had told them that they would send whoever did not help them catch guerrillas "to the paramilitaries."132

The UNHCHR mission noted that residents and local authorities repeatedly expressed outrage at the ease with which the AUC had moved through an area that had long had a pronounced, permanent military and police presence:

There is surprise at the ease with which the armed group that killed and forcibly disappeared so many people in the same trip could complete its entire criminal itinerary without being seen by the Army in any one of its roadblocks along the roads, particularly in the hamlet of Zacarías, located ten minutes outside Sabaletas and El Danubio where there is a permanent military base along with the guard station located along the highway at the entrance to the Alto Anchicayá Electrical Plant. There is also a great deal of surprise expressed by eyewitnesses by the sheer quantity of uniformed fighters who carried out the incursion (close to eighty well armed and uniformed fighters using uniforms reserved for the exclusive use of the military forces who traveled in two pick up trucks and two trucks -- some of them the red wine color that was recognized by some community residents as the same as vehicles belonging to the Army that passed here six months earlier -- when the region has only one entrance (Sabaletas) and one exit (Queremal), both guarded by the security forces).133

Especially hard hit were the region's African Colombian communities, who comprise an estimated 20 percent of Colombia's population and are concentrated along the Pacific Coast. Since Colombia's 1991 constitution recognized the right of ethnic communities in Colombia to organize, African Colombians have been mobilizing politically to press for land and other rights. "That means we are considered obstacles by both guerrillas and paramilitaries, who want to control black communities," one organizer told Human Rights Watch. "The paramilitaries are the main threats now."134

The story Jorge Isaac Aramburo, an African Colombian teacher and organizer, told Human Rights Watch was especially dramatic. A resident of Buenaventura, Valle, Aramburo learned in September 2000 that his name was on a list of suspected guerrilla supporters being circulated by paramilitaries. Before leaving town for his safety on September 6, 2000, he stopped by a widowed sister's house to leave grocery money.135

Later, he realized paramilitaries had seen him enter the house, but failed to note that he left out the back door. After he departed, armed men broke into the house and murdered five of Aramburo's nephews. Also killed was a friend who had been visiting, the cousin of one of Colombia's leading soccer players.136 Witnesses told local journalists the killers had lined the men up against the wall and executed them one by one.137

As European Parliament members noted in a letter to President Pastrana in May 2001, despite a series of massacres and alerts about other planned massacres, the paramilitary presence not only continued but grew at year's end, despite the permanent presence of the Navy in Buenaventura.138

The Cauca Offensive

The AUC publicly announced a plan to push south into the department of Cauca in February 2000. In a letter to local mayors and copied to the governor, the AUC's leaders said they would move fighters from Valle and wrest control from guerrillas. "Any citizen or civil authority who gives any type of assistance to subversives after our arrival in the department of Cauca will be declared a military target" the letter warned.139

In May 11, 2000, the AUC repeated its threats, this time to Cauca's governor, César Negret Mosquera:

Just as we have publicly announced, the AUC has arrived in the department of Cauca with a fighting unit called the CALIMA front. Yesterday, we attacked several villages outside Buenaventura in the department of Valle, and in other hamlets that belong to Cauca, and we killed fourteen FARC guerrillas in combat and executed twelve guerrillas dressed in civilian clothes. You, governor, represent the department's highest authority and you are shamelessly strengthening guerrillas in Cauca department.140

Repeatedly, Cauca residents told Human Rights Watch, Colombian Army troops carried out operations that were followed closely by the arrival of large numbers of paramilitaries. Outside Timba, Cauca, one witness told Human Rights Watch, a June 2000 army offensive was followed within hours by the arrival of AUC paramilitaries, who drove up even as military helicopters continued to overfly the area and the ruts of the army's Cascabel armored vehicles were still fresh.141

"When guerrillas attack, the Army responds in less than two hours," said one Cauca personero from the region, who asked that his name and town not be used. "But despite killings every three or four days, there was never a response by the Army against the paramilitaries. I can't think of a single clash between them."142

In another instance, this personero told Human Rights Watch, the AUC engaged in combat with a UC-ELN guerrilla unit, and within an hour the Army arrived to join the attack on guerrillas.143

The personero also told Human Rights Watch that residents reported to him that they had seen the commander of the Pichincha Battalion conversing with "Pirri," an AUC commander, about where displaced families should be housed. "But people were too afraid to make formal declarations," he noted. After learning that his name was reportedly on a paramilitary death list, this personero resigned and fled to Bogotá.144

Other Timba residents told local social workers interviewed by Human Rights Watch that they had seen army soldiers and paramilitaries actually exchanging uniforms, so that soldiers appeared by day as army members and by night as paramilitaries.145

Christmas marked the arrival in La Esperanza, Cauca, of armed men identifying themselves as members of the AUC. Approximately 200 residents fled to nearby Timba, where they took shelter in the local school. The AUC reportedly ordered families to abandon their homes and, once massacres were carried out, return with their safety "guaranteed."146

In nearby Jamundí, one municipal official who has since fled the area, told Human Rights Watch that paramilitaries and the army regularly met in the Plazas, a local hotel. "The paramilitaries walk around in the middle of the day with their armbands on, and the police and military just let them pass. When official commissions come, they just take off the armbands. For all strangers know, they are soldiers."147

Enrique's Search

When "Enrique," who asked that Human Rights Watch protect his anonymity, heard from family members that his aunt had vanished in Santander de Quilichao,

he took the first flight from Bogotá to Cali, then a bus to the town, to begin a search. His aunt had reportedly been seized by paramilitaries on a Sunday morning.148

Though the CNP maintains a post in town, locals warned Enrique that paramilitaries patrolled the streets at night with police permission.149 "We have cases where the paramilitaries have murdered people within the town of Santander de Quilichao, and even then the police do nothing," one high level government investigator told Human Rights Watch.150

"The paramilitaries said they would let my aunt go, and that I should just wait," Enrique told Human Rights Watch. He found the paramilitary base just fifteen minutes from the town's center. Meanwhile, dozens of soldiers patrolled the streets. "Later they told us to go look in the Cauca River. We found her tortured and dead. We could identify the body because of a ring and a mole on her skin. Her fingers were broken completely back. They had shot her through one eye, and it was missing."151

Cali residents told Human Rights Watch that three to four bodies a week float by on the Cauca River, which separates central Cali from the international airport and is spanned by the bridge that most airline travelers use to enter or leave the facilities. Fishermen and Colombians who gather sand from the river bed to sell are often the ones to find cadavers and body parts.152 Sometimes as many as ten bodies are found together, hands bound, and shot several times.153

Terror in Cajibío

The terror caused by the paramilitary advance on Cauca cannot be overstated. When the AUC arrived at dawn in a hamlet near Cajibío, Cauca, on November 22, 2000, Ana Zoraida Campo was in her house with her family. Paramilitaries demanded that her husband appear, but he was not home. Campo was too afraid to open the door. They beat it down and seized her brother, Arsenio, saying that he would remain a hostage until her brother appeared. Days later, she told the personero in Popayán, Cauca's capital:

They forced us into the town square where most of the townspeople were, and when I arrived I saw my younger brother YONIR CAMPO who was also bound, then they divided us into two groups of men and women, and they made the men line up, and then they went down searching them and demanding their identification papers. Then they called the owners of the stores, among them my elder brother ALCIBIADEZ CAMAYO and my nephew JAMES CAMAYO, and they were bound as well... from there they said they wanted the woman who did not want to open her door, so I raised my hand and I said I was the one, and they grabbed me and bound me and they said that all of us there, were twelve in all, that they would kill us.

Eventually paramilitaries released eight of the hostages, including Campo and her brothers. Four villagers were then taken to the road leading to the cemetery and executed.154

The same paramilitary unit continued detaining people until November 24, residents later testified. That day, they arrived at the village of La Pedregosa leading five men tied together by the neck and with their hands bound. The paramilitaries severed the village's telephone lines and set up a roadblock to prevent anyone from leaving and to search anyone arriving. After parading the five hostages through town, the paramilitaries reportedly executed them in the local church even as a Colombian military helicopter flew over its bell tower. At the time, a local priest was celebrating a first communion, and guests watched stunned as the execution took place as they left the church.155

Residents also reported to the Internal Affairs agency that the paramilitaries spoke to the helicopter's crew via radio and that the helicopter left the area without doing anything to attack the paramilitaries.156

Local authorities held an emergency security meeting in Popayán on November 22, and called on the security forces to take action to stop the killing. During the meeting, the mayor of Morales reported that the AUC had already threatened him and four other candidates for the mayor's office.157 A month earlier, the AUC had circulated a flyer announcing a "social cleansing" of the candidates and their supporters, who the AUC claimed favored guerrillas.158

But when government forces finally appeared, their arrival did not calm fears, but increased them. According to a Cauca-based association of human rights groups, troops belonging to the Third Brigade's "José Hilario López" battalion, based in Popayán, arrived in villages outside Cajibío on December 12, 2000, less than a month after the AUC had carried out its first killings. But instead of pursuing paramilitaries, residents alleged that soldiers began detaining local people. Soldiers reportedly stripped three young men who were on their way to harvest coffee and beat them. Other soldiers fired shots into the ground by the feet of a local leader and near his ears, saying that they wanted to "make him talk."

Before leaving, they reportedly threatened the villagers by saying, "Just wait, because for Christmas we are going to squeeze your balls and ruin the holidays."159

Soldiers made a delayed payment on that threat on January 10, 2001, when they arrived at the home of Edelmira Montenegro Álvarez, a farmer near Cajibío. According to testimony Montenegro gave to the Cajibío personero two days later, a soldier began asking her for the location of her brother-in-law, Saulo Campo, and neighbors. When she replied that no one else was home, the soldier threatened her and said that she should tell her neighbor, "[this] little shet [sic], that we want to say hello and to take care of himself, because his little tail is smelling like formaldehyde."160

At Campo's home, his wife later testified, soldiers searched the bedrooms and seized a pair of her husband's green pants, which they burned. After threatening and hitting her with a rifle, they left. The family later fled out of fear of further attacks.161

Less than a week later, presumed paramilitaries carried out their largest massacre to date in the region, executing ten men whom they pulled from a public bus only fifteen minutes outside Popayán. One of the victims, twenty-year-old José Luis Campo, had just finished his obligatory military service. He was killed as he rode his bicycle by the stopped bus, apparently because the paramilitaries did not want witnesses.162

Not only paramilitaries did the killing. In an apparent attempt to counter the paramilitary advance, the FARC-EP guerrillas attacked the village of Ortega, outside Cajibío, Cauca, on October 8, 2000. According to the Public Advocate, the guerrillas detained ten residents, among them a fifteen-year-old boy, bound them, forced them to the ground, and shot them dead. Guerrillas then decapitated three of the bodies. Before leaving, the FARC-EP destroyed forty-two buildings, the village's chapel, and a Protestant meeting space. The attack was apparently retaliation for the villagers' refusal to let guerrillas burn the local health post a month earlier.163 In December 2000, the FARC-EP is believed to have killed four indigenous Colombians in Cauca who they suspected of supporting paramilitaries or because they refused to fight against them.164

The November attacks by paramilitaries around Cajibío prompted a commission of national and international nongovernmental organizations to visit and prepare a special early-warning request that called on the government to take special measures to protect the civilian population, sent on December 1. The request singled out the exact places where new attacks were believed to be planned. Nevertheless, five months later, the Colombian government had yet to even formally acknowledge receipt of the early-warning request.165

Although the government sent a commission to investigate on January 11, 2001, there were no visible or effective measures taken after it departed to stem paramilitary violence. Subsequently, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (IACHR) issued precautionary measures meant to prompt the government to take emergency measures to protect local authorities and the members of social organizations operating in the area.166 But as late as May 2001, Human Rights Watch was receiving reports indicating that paramilitaries continued to move freely around Cajibío, despite the permanent presence nearby of the Colombian Army.167

Even as humanitarian organizations, the church, municipal leaders, and victims testified about the reign of terror in the region, and hundreds of displaced families and their children crowded churches and schools, Colombian Army officers in charge of public order denied that anything out of the ordinary was happening. "At this moment, we have units along the upper reaches of the mountains and they have not reported anything strange," Pichincha Battalion commander Lt. Col. Tonny Vargas told Cali's El País. "In the same manner, not a single farmer has indicated to us who it was who ordered the houses to be abandoned."168

The paramilitary offensive in the region captured international attention over the 2001 Easter weekend, when residents began reporting a series of massacres carried out by the AUC along the Naya River, which separates Valle from Cauca. At the time, local army commanders told journalists that they had no evidence that paramilitaries were in the region.169 A Los Angeles Times correspondent later visited the area and reconstructed what happened:

[Paramilitaries] butchered 18-year-old Gladys Ipia first, slicing off her head and hands with a chain saw. Next, they killed six people at a restaurant just down the trail. They shot some, stabbed others. They hacked one man to death and then burned him. And so they traveled, 200 men and teens belonging to Colombia's largest ultra-right paramilitary group, the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia. Holy Week became a procession of death as the forces hiked 60 miles from the Naya River's headwaters in the high Andes toward its outlet in the lowland jungles, stopping to slaughter at hamlets along the way. By the time they had crossed the Naya region, a remote and stunningly beautiful stretch of Colombia's Pacific coast, at least 27 people had been killed, with 20 more missing and presumed dead. Some were leftist guerrillas. Others were peasants. One was found splayed in a soccer field like a discarded doll. Almost all the victims were indigenous or black. The violence sent thousands fleeing.170

The Public Advocate's office later reported that the AUC had murdered as many as forty people in the Upper Naya region and prompted the forced displacement of at least 1,000 more people. In its summary of the events, the Public Advocate report concluded:

For the office of the Public Advocate, it is inexplicable how approximately 500 paramilitaries could carry out an operation of this type without being challenged in any way, especially since the area that these men entered is only twenty minutes from the village of Timba, where a base operated by the Colombian Army is located and has been staffed since March 30 of this year.171

Official Accountability

Until November 2000, the Third Brigade was under the command of Brig. Gen. Jaime Ernesto Canal Albán and covered the departments of Valle and Cauca. As far as Human Rights Watch is aware, there have been no investigations mounted against him.

General Canal resigned on November 3, 2000.172 Subsequently, the defense minister made it clear that Canal's resignation had nothing to do with alleged links between the Third Brigade and paramilitaries, but rather resulted from Canal's disagreement with the government's decision to negotiate with the UC-ELN for the release of eighteen civilians remaining from a number abducted at Kilometer 18, a popular dining retreat on the road between Cali and Buenaventura.173

To date, the only action taken to break the link between the Third Brigade and paramilitaries has been made by the Attorney General's office. In December 2000, civilian prosecutors arrested Col. Rafael Hani, commander of the Palacé Battalion based in Buga, Valle. Prosecutors told Human Rights Watch that they have strong evidence showing that Hani set up paramilitary groups, supplied them with vehicles and supplies, and coordinated actions with them. They characterized the evidence as "extremely strong, and involving direct support for and participation in paramilitary crimes." Hani's support for paramilitaries, investigators told Human Rights Watch, "was flagrant."174

President Pastrana called a little noted emergency meeting between the Attorney General's office and the military high command in January 2001. One government official who attended told Human Rights Watch that the officers bitterly protested Colonel Hani's arrest. "They can't get the people who plan the crimes, so they are grabbing the soldiers for the crime of omission," Gen. Francisco René Pedraza, commander of the Third Brigade, told journalists.175

After the paramilitary sweep through the Upper Naya region, which joins Valle and Cauca, Colombia's defense minister announced on May 1, 2001 that the Navy had captured seventy-three suspected members of the AUC who were believed to have taken part.176 Carlos Castaño publicly took responsibility for the killings even as authorities removed bodies from the region in slings attached beneath helicopters.177

110. The Ties that Bind: Colombia and Military-Paramilitary Links (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2000). The report is available at

111. Human Rights Watch interviews with Valle and Cauca municipal authorities, Cali, Vale, January 12-14, 2001.

112. Human Rights Watch interview with Cauca human rights defender, Bogotá, January 11, 2001.

113. Felipe's testimony is also part of the case prepared by the Attorney General against Palacé Battalion commander Rafael Hani Jimeno. The case is summarized in the decision ordering Hani's arrest, filed under Case Number 835 and dated December 21, 2000. Human Rights Watch interviewed Felipe on January 19, 2001.

114. Ibid.

115. Ibid.

116. Ibid.

117. Ibid.

118. Ibid.

119. Hans Vargas Pardo, "Habla Román, comandante de las AUC: 'Nos pidieron que viniéramos al Valle'" El País, August 3, 1999.

120. Human Rights Watch interview with social workers, Cali, Valle, January 13, 2001.

121. Case Number 835, December 21, 2000; Human Rights Watch interview with social workers, Cali, Valle, January 13, 2001; and Noche y Niebla, published by CINEP and Justice and Peace, July-August-September, 1999, No. 13, p. 95.

122. Ibid.

123. The Attorney General's office later confirmed that Tatabro, who it identified as Duberney Vásquez Velásquez, appeared on the Palacé Battalion's list of paid informants. At the time, Vásquez was an adolescent. Case Number 835, December 21, 2000.

124. Ibid.

125. Human Rights Watch interview with social workers, Cali, Valle, January 13, 2001.

126. Case Number 835, December 21, 2000.

127. Ibid.

128. 129

129. Human Rights Watch government investigator, Santafé de Bogotá, January 9, 2001.

130. Paragraph 135, "Report of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights on the human rights situation in Colombia," E/CN.4/2001/15, February 8, 2001.

131. Months later, the UC-ELN carried out its September 2000 mass kidnaping of forty-three Colombians near Kilometer 18, a popular dining retreat, on this road, known as the "Road to the Sea" (Vía al Mar). Misión de Observación de la Situación Humanitaria en los Municipios de Buenaventura y Dagua del Departamento del Valle del Cauca, June 20-23, 2000. The mission was made up of representatives from the Bogotá office of the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights, the Interior Ministry's Human Rights office, the Attorney General's Human Rights Unit, the Procuraduría, the Central Workers Union, the government Social Solidarity Network, CINEP, CODHES, the CCJ, ILSA, MINGA, the Public Advocate's office, and the Valle governor's office.

132. Ibid.

133. Ibid.

134. Human Rights Watch interview with African Colombian leader, Bogotá, January 11, 2001.

135. Human Rights Watch interview with Jorge Aramburo, Bogotá, January 11, 2001; and "Presuntos Miembros de las AUC asesinan a 7 personas," El Tiempo, September 8, 2000.

136. Ibid.

137. "Rezando los mataron," El Caleño, September 8, 2000.

138. Letter from European Parliament members to President Pastrana, May 6, 2001.

139. Letter from the Joint Chief of Staff, AUC, to the mayors of Almaguer, Bolívar, Balboa, Caloto, and Rosas, Cauca, February 19, 2000.

140. "Resolución Defensorial No. 009: sobre la situación de orden público en la región de río Naya," Eduardo Cifuentes Muñoz, Defensor del Pueblo, Santafé de Bogotá, May 9, 2001.

141. Human Rights Watch interview with Cauca human rights defender, Bogotá, January 11, 2001.

142. Human Rights Watch interview with former Cauca personero, Bogotá, January 18, 2001.

143. Ibid.

144. Ibid.

145. Human Rights Watch interview with Cauca social worker, Cali, Valle, January 14, 2001.

146. Iván Noguera, "La espera de los desplazados del Cauca," El Tiempo, January 9, 2001.

147. Human Rights Watch with former Jamundí municipal official, Cali, Valle, January 14, 2001.

148. Human Rights Watch interview with "Enrique," Cali, Valle, January 13, 2001.

149. Human Rights Watch interview with Cauca human rights defender, Bogotá, January 11, 2001.

150. Human Rights Watch interview with government investigator, Bogotá, January 9, 2001.

151. Human Rights Watch interview with "Enrique," Cali, Valle, January 13, 2001.

152. Human Rights Watch interview with Cali students, Cali, Valle, January 14, 2001.

153. "Cuatro personas han sido arrojados al río Cauca," El País, September 28, 2000.

154. Declaration of Ana Zoraida Campo to Popayán personero, November 29, 2000; and Derecho de Petición by the "José Alvear Restrepo" Lawyers Collective to the Attorney General's office, November 28, 2000.

155. Human Rights Watch interview with Cauca human rights defenders, Bogotá, January 29, 2001.

156. Letter from Jaime Bernal Cuéllar, Procurador, to Alfonso Gómez, Attorney General, December 7, 2000.

157. Letter from Silvio Villegas Sandoval, Mayor, Morales, Cauca, to Eduardo Cifuentes, Public Advocate, November 25, 2000.

158. Letter from the Calima Front, AUC, to the people of Morales, Cauca, October 19, 2000.

159. "S.O.S. a las organizaciones sociales hermanas y organismos de derechos humanos nacionales e internacionales," Movimiento Suroccidente Colombiano (CIMA, ANUC-UR, ASOINCA, FENSUAGRO, ASOCOMUNAL La Vega, Movimiento Campesino y Popular Cajibiano), December 21, 2000.

160. Declaration by Edelmira Montenegro Álvarez to the Cajibío personero and a representative of the Regional Public Advocate's office, Popayán, Cauca, January 12, 2001.

161. Declaration by María Ines Chamorro Capote to the Cajibío personero and a representative of the Regional Public Advocate's office, Popayán, Cauca, January 12, 2001.

162. "Masacre en La Rejoya," El Liberal, January 16, 2001; "Masacraron a diez campesinos en Cauca," El Tiempo, January 16, 2001.

163. "Defensor repudia masacre de las FARC-EP contra campesinos de Ortega, Cauca," Public Advocate's office, October 12, 2000.

164. "En 'jaque' resguardos de norte del Cauca," El Occidente, December 29, 2000; and "'Vía armada no es la mejor defensa'," El Occidente, December 27, 2000.

165. Annual Report of the IACHR 2000, Organization of American States, April 16, 2001.

166. Ibid.

167. Amnesty International Urgent Action 66 and 66/01, March 19 and May 21, 2001; and Cauca human rights groups urgent action, May 11, 2001.

168. "Desplazados acosan al norte del Cauca," El País, December 27, 2000.

169. Hans Vargas Pardo, "Autodefensas, otro actor que desestabiliza a los habitantes del Cauca: La zozobra de vivir junto a las AUC," El País (Cali), April 24, 2001.

170. T. Christian Miller, "Paramilitaries Took No Prisoners on the Banks of the Naya River," Los Angeles Times, May 20, 2001.

171. At the time the Public Advocate's office filed its report, they were able to confirm twenty-two bodies resulting from the paramilitary attack. Witnesses, the report noted, told representatives of the Public Advocate's office that paramilitaries threw other bodies into gorges and the rivers that feed the Cauca River. Some were reportedly dismembered with chainsaws. "Resolución Defensorial No. 009: sobre la situación de orden público en la región de río Naya," Eduardo Cifuentes Muñoz, Defensor del Pueblo, Santafé de Bogotá, May 9, 2001.

172. Decreto No.2252, November 4, 2000; and "Colombian General Quits Over Deal," Associated Press, November 3, 2000.

173. "Primó la vida de los secuestrados: Mindefensa," El Tiempo, November 6, 2000; and "Colombian General Quits Over Deal," Associated Press, November 3, 2000.

174. Colonel Hani has denied the charges against him. Human Rights Watch interview with government prosecutors, Bogotá, January 9, 2001; and "Detenido coronel del Ejército Nacional," El Tiempo, January 8, 2001.

175. Ibid; and "Rechazan detención de coronel Hani Jimeno," El Tiempo, January 9, 2001.

176. "Colombia set on quashing paramilitaries - Pastrana," Reuters, May 1, 2001; Juan O. Tamayo, "Colombia shows off 2 rightist guerrillas: Paramilitaries deny massacre," Miami Herald, May 3, 2001; and Claudia Rocío Vásquez R., "La batalla secreta por el Naya," El Tiempo, May 7, 2001.

177. Carlos Castaño, "La Operación Antisubversiva del Naya," Editorial Semanal de las AUC, April 23, 2001. This is available at

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