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The New Structure

While the administration of President César Gaviria (1990-1994) was seeking political reform in Colombia, the United States was making a priority of the drug war throughout the hemisphere. The Andean strategy, devised by the administration of President George Bush (1988-1992), was meant to fortify antidrug efforts in South America. It concentrated U.S. efforts on "source countries," where coca leaves are grown and processed into cocaine. By 1990, the U.S. Southern Command, responsible for all U.S. military activities in Latin America and the Caribbean, had declared counter-drug efforts its "number one priority." 65

The United States increased aid to the Colombian military as a way of incorporating it into the counter-drug effort. In a telephone interview with Human Rights Watch, Col. (ret.) James S. Roach, Jr., then the U.S. Military Attache and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) country liaison in Bogotá, said, "There was a very big debate going on [about how to best allocate] money for counternarcotics operations in Colombia. The U.S. was looking for a way to try to help. But if you're not going to be combatants [yourselves], you have to find something to do." 66

One area where U.S. officials decided they could help was in intelligence. In 1990, the United States formed a team that included representatives of the U.S. Embassy's Military Group, U.S. Southern Command, the DIA, and the CIA according to Colonel Roach. 67 The fourteen-member team was led by a U.S. navy captain, and made recommendations to the Colombian Defense Ministry for the reorganization of their military intelligence networks. A March 17, 1996, Defense Department letter to Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT) confirms the Defense Department's role, which is explained as an attempt to make Colombia's military intelligence networks "more efficient and effective." 68

Nevertheless, these recommendations were given despite the fact that some of the U.S. officials who collaborated with the team knew of the Colombian military's record of human rights abuses and its ongoing relations with paramilitaries - a relationship Human Rights Watch has been documenting in its reports for years. "The intent was not to be associated with paramilitaries," Colonel Roach said. "But we knew from Colombian news reports and [even] from Colombian military reports that they were still working with paramilitaries." 69

In an interview with Human Rights Watch, former Defense Minister Rafael Pardo said that in addition to recommendations received from the United States, the Defense Ministry solicited opinions from British and Israeli military intelligence. Pardo, who took office three months after the reorganization began, noted that Colombia favored the U.S. plan since it had the most points of convergence with what the Colombian military wanted. 70

The result was Order 200-05/91, issued by the Colombian Defense Ministry in May 1991 (see Appendix A). Human Rights Watch is making Order 200-05/91 public for the first time. Contrary to the stated objectives of the Andean strategy, however, Order 200-05/91 has little if anything to do with combating drugs. Indeed, throughout its sixteen pages and corresponding appendices, the order, marked "reserved," makes no mention of drugs. Instead, the Colombian military, "based on the recommendations made by a commission of advisors from the U.S. Armed Forces," presented a plan to better combat what they call "escalating terrorism by armed subversion." 71

As we demonstrate in the next section, devoted to the naval intelligence network set up in Barrancabermeja, Order 200-05/91 laid the groundwork for continuing an illegal, covert partnership between the military and paramilitaries and demonstrates that this partnership was promoted by the military high command in violation of Decree 1194, which prohibits such contact. Although the term "paramilitaries" is not used in the order, the document lays out a system similar to the one present under the name of MAS and its military patrons in the Middle Magdalena.

Pardo told Human Rights Watch that this structure was not intended to incorporate illegal groups or to carry out illegal activities. Regardless of his caveat, however, the order provided a blueprint for just that: a secret network that relied on paramilitaries not only for intelligence, but to carry out murder.

Order 200-05/91, which Pardo acknowledged as authentic, instructs the army, navy, and air force to establish intelligence networks that will take orders from and provide intelligence to the military high command. 72 As laid out in Order 200-05/91, the job of supervising the reorganization went to the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colombia's second-highest military post (the highest is the commander in chief of the Armed Forces). Once the new networks were established, they were to be coordinated by the "D-2" Department, the military intelligence division at central command in Santafé de Bogotá. All payments for services were to be made by the high command to the various branches of service.

Order 200-05/91 authorized the army to set up thirty networks divided evenly between urban and rural areas. The navy was to establish four networks in and around the country's major sea and river ports. The order provided for the air force to set up seven networks. Each network was expected not only to supply the high command with intelligence and act on its orders, but also coordinate closely with other military units in their regions. The order provided for each network to be supplied with a staff and administered by "an active-duty officer with great knowledge of the region and its problems, who can easily interact with people of the zone in order to maintain his front." In turn, this officer was to be assisted by "an officer or non-commissioned officer, retired or in active service, who has resources including a false identity and history, a vehicle, and a pre-established system of communications. He should have easy access to the target area.... He may also be a trustworthy civilian with training and influence." We do not know how many of the authorized networks were in fact established.

Under this employee were "control agents," "civilians or retired non-commissioned officers with sufficient experience and status." In turn, Order 200-05/91 provided for each network to hire from twenty-five to fifty "intelligence agents," who "must be, if possible, retired non-commissioned officers, trained to handle informants and process information." The informants, the order stressed, should be required to "maintain the highest degree of reserve before the people with whom they live." Order 200-05/91 instructs division and brigade commanders to select candidates "whether civilians or retired military personnel, for integration into the network's cadre," but fails to make any mention of Decree 1194 or exclude paramilitaries from the ranks of the new intelligence networks. Order 200-05/91 does include, however, an urgent warning: the entire chain of command as well as the networks themselves must remain secret:

The study, selection, instruction, training, location and organization of these networks, urban as well as rural, will be covert and under the responsibility of the Division or Brigade Commanders, or their equivalents in other forces, and the Network Commanders.

All written material was to be removed once the process is completed. Open contacts and interaction with military installations "must be avoided." There "must be no written contracts with informants or civilian members of the network; everything must be agreed to orally." And the handling of the networks themselves "will be covert and compartmentalized, allowing for the necessary flexibility to cover targets of interest."

The Barrancabermeja Network

One of the networks that resulted from the reorganization was based in Barrancabermeja and run by the navy. The site of Colombia's largest oil refinery and a port on the Magdalena River, Barrancabermeja holds strategic importance for both the Colombian military and ELN. Naval intelligence, coordinating with MAS, had been implicated in killings before 1991, including the murder of trade unionist Manuel Gustavo Chacón, gunned down by a navy enlisted man on January 15, 1988. 73 But Order 200-05/91 gave new life to what had been since 1989 an illegal partnership. In partnership with MAS, the navy intelligence network set up in Barrancabermeja adopted as its goal not only the elimination of anyone perceived as supporting the guerrillas, but also members of the political opposition, journalists, trade unionists, and human rights workers, particularly if they investigated or criticized their terror tactics.

In an interview with Human Rights Watch, former intelligence agent Saulo Segura Palacios described the network and how it functioned in and around Barrancabermeja. A former non-commissioned navy officer, Segura said he was recruited by Navy Capt. Juan Carlos Alvarez Gutiérrez in October 1991. Alvarez had been appointed to command Naval Intelligence Network No. 07 by Lt. Col. Rodrigo Quiñones Cárdenas, chief of Naval Intelligence. Segura owned a retail clothing store, and said his main job was to provide cover for the network by renting office space, buying furniture, and cashing checks. 74

Alvarez appointed an active-duty non-commissioned naval officer, Carlos David López, to run the network's daily affairs. For his part, López directed three control agents including Ancizar Castaño Buitrago and ex-naval serviceman Miguel Durán. They managed at least seven intelligence agents, including Milton Martínez Plata, and oversaw dozens of informants and hit men, who were ordered to follow and attack targets throughout the zone. In a letter sent to the attorney general's office, López confessed his participation and corroborated Segura's story. 75

According to Segura, Alvarez and Quiñones would identify the targets, which included the membership and leaders of the Oil Workers' Union (Unión Sindical Obrero, USO), the San Silvestre Transportation Workers' Union, the Regional Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (Comité Regional para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos, CREDHOS) and the UP. 76 These were the same groups included in a death threat circulated in the name of the "Ariel Otero" Command, a paramilitary group, in January of 1992, vowing to retaliate for every guerrilla action by murdering someone. 77

Segura said network operatives and hit men also coordinated activities with the army's Nueva Granada Battalion, based in Barrancabermeja. 78 According to another witness, reserve officer Felipe Gómez, Nueva Granada Battalion commander Colonel Hurtado and Major Lee (first names unknown) identified additional targets. 79 According to the four witnesses who eventually confessed to authorities, Quiñones was the officer who evaluated intelligence and made the decision on how to respond. 80 One witness, former hit man Carlos Vergara Amaya, told prosecutors:

Col. (sic) Rodrigo Quiñones was told everything about the operations, I mean the investigations. And according to what was being investigated, he would speak with Capt. Juan Carlos Alvarez, alias "The Engineer," giving the green light if the operation was o.k. or not, in other words to kill people or not. After that, Capt. Juan Carlos Alvarez would communicate directly with [network administrator] Carlos David López and [control agent] Miguel Durán, who told us what to do. If it was by phone, they used the following codes: "There are some broken motors. I need you to repair them. They are in such and such a place." And they would give the address. "Take good mechanics and good tools." Mechanics meant sicarios [hitmen], good tools meant good weapons, and the motors meant the victims. 81

Following the model set out in Order 200-05/91, there were few written orders or contracts; most operations were arranged verbally. Although informants knew they were working for the navy, Segura told prosecutors, "they could have no formal or legal tie to the Defense Ministry." 82

However, one network employee, Felipe Gómez, who chose to collaborate with civilian authorities in exchange for a lowered sentence, told the attorney general's office that he had signed a contract with the Defense Ministry and Armed Forces. A reserve officer and former soldier, Gómez said one of his tasks was to help equip, direct, and encourage paramilitaries in the region. Gómez told authorities he was responsible for organizing paramilitaries in the towns of San Rafael de Chucurí, Las Montoyas, Campo Capote, Bocas del Carare, Puerto Gaitán, and La Ganadera. Gómez says he received weapons and equipment from the navy, including bolt-action rifles, M16 rifles, Galil rifles, revolvers, pistols, submachine guns, fragmentation grenades, military instruction texts, and high-frequency two-way radios to communicate with the navy and army. Gómez said another network employee, hit man Alexander Trujillo, boasted of a private arsenal authorized by the navy, including revolvers, pistols, grenades, rifles, machine guns, bullet-proof jackets, and abundant munitions. 83

Most of these weapons are expressly banned for civilian use and are classified as "for the exclusive use of the armed forces" (uso privativo de las FFMM). Weapons considered defensive, like .38 caliber pistols, must be properly licensed by the Defense Ministry. Nevertheless, both banned and restricted weapons are commonly used by paramilitaries. By law, the security forces are obligated to seize these weapons when found in the hands of civilians, check for proper licensing, and detain civilians for investigation and prosecution if the weapons are illegal. However, in the case of Naval Intelligence Network 07, the law was clearly flaunted. 84

With Gómez, paramilitaries went to area settlements to demand collaboration, informing residents that they were a legal group supported by the government. Gómez says Captain Alvarez gave special orders to him to convince local ranchers to stop paying the guerrilla "war tax," and instead pay each paramilitary a monthly salary, a proposal he says was accepted. Other payments came directly from the Nueva Granada Battalion, where paramilitaries had a right to supplies, including toiletries. 85

Gómez apparently paid a high price for his participation. He told authorities that his wife had been shot four times in one non-fatal incident by unknown assailants. Two of her brothers were killed, and Gómez requested protection from the attorney general in exchange for his confession. 86 Despite repeated inquiries, Human Rights Watch has not been able to determine the fate of Gómez, López, or Vergara, witnesses who testified about the Navy Intelligence network in Barrancabermeja.

Throughout 1991 and 1992, paramilitaries also patrolled the nearby Chucurí region with soldiers from the Luciano D'Elhuyar Battalion, detaining and killing suspects and threatening those they accused of harboring sympathies for guerrillas. Farmers who resisted joining the patrols risked being labelled guerrilla supporters. Families paid paramilitaries a "war tax," funds that often went back to the army in weapons purchases. 87

Among the network's first victims in 1992 was Blanca Cecilia Valero, a member of CREDHOS and the secretary of attorney Jorge Gómez Lizarazo (no relation to Felipe), a CREDHOS founding member. On January 28, Jorge Gómez wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times entitled "Colombian Blood, U.S. Guns." In the article, widely circulated in Colombia, Gómez wrote, "The violence will continue until military and police complicity is fully understood and addressed." 88 The next day, Valero was gunned down outside the CREDHOS office. 89 Across the street, two policemen observed the murder and made no effort to follow the assailants, carrying automatic weapons and travelling on a motorcycle. 90 Gómez has since been forced to flee Colombia.

Over the next five months, dozens more were murdered in the region, including the vice-president and treasurer of the San Silvestre Transportation Workers' Union, USO members, and local peasants. 91 In his confession, López linked twenty-six murders and four massacres, with twenty more victims, to the network during that period. 92

The rash of murders attracted the attention of Ismael Jaimes, the editor and owner of La Opinión, a local newspaper. For his work, Jaimes became a target. Carlos David López later told authorities that Jaimes was targeted because "he published newspaper columns always accusing the security forces and state intelligence." On May 6, López told prosecutors, a navy hit man murdered Jaimes as he dropped off one of his children at school, a daily routine. 93

Not only those reporting on the military-paramilitary partnership were targeted. Civilian authorities who attempted to investigate or arrest alleged paramilitaries were also threatened. On March 29, a combined team of DAS, police, and judicial authorities travelled by helicopter to nearby El Carmen de Chucurí to arrest twenty-five alleged paramilitaries. Far from assisting the official commission, army officers urged local residents to impede the arrests. Only one suspect was eventually placed in custody. 94

In Barrancabermeja, the killing continued. On June 28, López said, CREDHOS member Julio César Berrío was killed by navy gunmen as he left an ice cream parlor. A month later, navy operatives gunned down another CREDHOS member as she sat in the La Shanon Restaurant with the president of the San Silvestre Transportation Workers' Union and a member of the National Association of Peasant Small-holders (Asociación Nacional de Usuarios Campesinos, ANUC). All were killed. 95

According to Segura, the network's operatives also engaged the services of a gang of hit men led by José Alirio Ulloa. He told prosecutors that Ulloa did jobs for both the navy and army. Other hit men included Gerardo Alvarez, Diego López, and the four Cataño brothers, Luis, Rafael, Eliecer, and Hugo. 96 Their names appeared on the navy payroll as informants. López told authorities:

This group was paid, from the beginning, in the following way. The payment for information was overvalued. In other words, if there was good intelligence, for example the location of a subversive group in the Barrancabermeja area, the receipt was for 700,000 pesos. But really, the informant was only paid 100,000. The other 600,000 was used to pay the group of hit men. 97

According to Segura, "They would pay a group of hit men to do their thing, and then claim that these people were intelligence agents in order to justify the payments." 98

Even as the navy intelligence network was targeting supposed enemies, army intelligence units in league with MAS were threatening residents of a shelter set up for families forced to flee violence in rural areas. This lethal nexus was revealed on May 16, 1992, after Elvia María Córdoba, who had pretended to be a displaced person, confessed to the organizers of the Peasant Albergue (shelter) that MAS had given her the job of collecting intelligence on shelter residents. Several months earlier, MAS members had forced their way into the shelter and threatened the families living there at gun point. According to Córdoba, MAS had coordinated the action with the Fourteenth Brigade, which gave them a truck to travel from Puerto Berrío, where the brigade is located, to the shelter. Two days after leaving the shelter, Córdoba's body was found in a garbage dump on the city outskirts. As a result of her information, the shelter was temporarily closed for the safety of the workers and guests. 99

Human Rights Watch has also collected evidence indicating that the military in other areas operated in much the same way as in Barrancabermeja. "Lucas," a control agent we interviewed in the department of Putumayo in 1992, told us that he had been hired by the army to collect information, guard strategic installations, and do illicit jobs on command. A former professional soldier, "Lucas" considered himself a specialist in intelligence and carried an army issued .38 revolver. Local residents added that "Lucas" also worked with the local branch of the MAS, called the Masetos. 100 One of the "illicit jobs" Lucas said he had been given by the local army commander was to kill Adalberto Narváez, a local doctor and candidate for mayor:

Major Jairo Solano said this to me and to another guy, Juan [a control agent]. He asked if we knew a Mr. Adalberto, a doctor. Major Solano said, "This guy hands out medicine to the guerrillas. He treats them. He's helping them. He must be killed." 101

In Putumayo, communication between police, the army, and the Masetos was constant and fluid. The alliance was so public, local residents told us, that even police referred to the Masetos as "the law" and characterized MAS members as "employed by MAS headquarters in Puerto Boyacá." As in Barrancabermeja, where navy hit men also took part in robberies, the military's clandestine network ensured that not only could paramilitaries carry illegal weapons without fear of arrest, but also threaten, bully, terrorize, and even kill civilians for their own purposes. 102

Far from actively pursuing and arresting known navy hit men, the Barrancabermeja police also appear to have had a key role in covering up their crimes and ensuring that operatives remained free to carry out orders. One incident from Barrancabermeja dramatically illustrates how the security forces cooperated. On May 13, 1992, hit men José Ulloa and Diego Cataño killed two men, apparently on orders from the Nueva Granada Battalion. A warrant was issued for their arrests, and the two suspects along with two other navy hit men were later arrested at a roadblock set up by the army's Fourteenth Brigade. Brig. Gen. Marino Gutiérrez Isaza, the Fourteenth Brigade commander, later included José Ulloa's statement in a report:

[H]e said he had to kill two people, following the orders of a unit of the Nueva Granada Battalion for whom he worked, and he showed an officer a card identifying him as an employee of S-2 [intelligence section] of this Tactical Unit. He also said that if he knew the troops were going to detain him, they would have opened fire, preferring to have gone down fighting. 103

On June 1, the four men were turned over to police and intelligence authorities. But instead of being charged for the May 13 murders, all four vanished. 104 They may have been executed to prevent them from saying more. 105

Far from diminishing violence, the military intelligence network appears to have dramatically increased it. By the end of 1992, Barrancabermeja's murder rate had jumped by 49 percent over the figure recorded for 1990, the year before the reorganization. 106

Beginning in 1993, former members of the naval intelligence network, including Segura, began to testify against their superiors. According to Segura, he did so because his superiors wanted to kill him. Increased scrutiny apparently convinced Quiñones to remove some of his agents and transfer the network commander, Captain Alvarez, to Cartagena. He also transferred Segura to Bahía Solano, in the department of Chocó, where another naval intelligence network was operating. There, Segura told authorities he refused to follow Quiñones's orders to kill six men who worked in a local fishing cooperative. 107

"I told him that as a result of my investigations, I had managed to establish that the men I had been ordered to kill weren't guerrillas or even collaborators, drug traffickers, or arms traffickers. To the contrary, they were very beloved in the area because they are among the few who give people work." For this, Segura apparently went from executioner to target. 108

A few months later, Segura was shot twice but survived. Conversations between hit men that were surreptitiously recorded, then leaked to the press strongly suggest that Quiñones ordered Segura "separated from the business," a code for killed. 109 Carlos Vergara, a member of Ulloa's gang of hit men, testified to authorities that others had been promised 45,000,000 pesos apiece, the equivalent of $40,000, to kill the four who had agreed to testify. 110

Both Segura and López fled to Panama in February 1994. 111 There, Segura said they were approached by Colombian authorities and told to retract their accusations, with the promise that they would only be held in prison two months, then acquitted and released. 112 Both retracted their statements and were returned to Colombia. 113 However, at the time Human Rights Watch interviewed Segura, he had been in prison for sixteen months and fully confirmed his original statements.

Based largely on the testimony of Segura and López, along with Vergara and Gómez (who never contradicted their original statements), an investigation by the Special Investigations office of the Procuraduría has tied the network to fifty-seven murders in and around Barrancabermeja. 114 The case was then forwarded to the Procuraduría Delegate for Human Rights, who treated the case as a single crime and concluded that officers conspired "to form or collaborate with armed groups, as defined and prohibited by Decree 1194." 115

From prison, Segura told government investigators and Human Rights Watch that he thought he would be killed. On December 24, 1995, inside the Modelo's maximum-security wing, Segura was fatally shot. His murder remains unsolved.

Despite the strong case against Lt. Col. Quiñones and seven other implicated soldiers, a military tribunal ruled on December 15, 1994, that they should remain free pending trial. In his decision, Military Superior Tribunal Judge Alfonso Ospina Bonilla used the covert and compartmentalized system set up in Order 200-05/91 not to implicate Quiñones, but to absolve him of responsibility. In an astonishing defiance of the evidence before him, Ospina wrote that since neither Segura, Vergara, nor any of the network agents had reported direct contact with Quiñones, "there is no reason to impute [their] illicit activities to him." 116 Quiñones was later acquitted by a military tribunal and remains on active duty. 117

Reports of military - paramilitary collaboration in the region continue. Near Sabana de Torres, an hour from Barrancabermeja, local residents gave municipal authorities garbage collected from a camp occupied by the Peasant Self-Defense Group of Colombia (Autodefensas Campesinas de Colombia, ACC) in March 1995. Among the leavings were wrappings from army ration packets. 118 Once villages or individuals have apparently been identified as sympathetic to guerrillas, the military and paramilitaries work together to spread terror and force people to leave or face death. In Sabana de Torres, for example, local residents reported that soldiers told them that paramilitaries follow in their wake and would kill anyone who helped the guerrillas. Paramilitaries in the region go by the names "The Chainsaws," "Black Shadow," and the ACC, which has adopted uniforms with red armbands bearing the initials ACC. One witness interviewed by Human Rights Watch recounted how the soldiers' threat came true: "The ACC came about fifteen days later, asking about the guerrillas. That's when I left, because to stay meant being killed for sure." 119


65 Chuck Call, Clear and Present Danger: The U.S. Military and the War on Drugs in the Andes (Washington, D.C.: Washington Office on Latin America, WOLA, October 1991), p. 1.

66 Human Rights Watch telephone interview, March 16, 1996.

67 Ibid.

68 Letter from Acting Assistant Secretary, of Defense Frederick Smith to Senator Patrick J. Leahy, March 17, 1996. (See Appendix D).

69 Human Rights Watch telephone interview, March 16, 1996.

70 Human Rights Watch interview, Washington, D.C., February 8, 1996.

71 All translations in this section by Human Rights Watch.

72 Human Rights Watch interview, Washington, D.C., February 8, 1996.

73 Former navy serviceman Pablo Francisco Pérez Cabrera received a sixteen-year sentence for the murder. However, no other officers were investigated for the crime. Other witnesses who apparently wanted to testify subsequently vanished. "USO pide garantías para testigos contra la Armada," El Espectador, January 6. 1994.

74 Human Rights Watch interview, Modelo Prison, Santafé de Bogotá, September 18, 1995

75 Letter from Carlos David Lopez to the Attorney General, December 7, 1993.

76 Letter from Saulo Segura Palacios to the Attorney General, December 7, 1993.

77 CREDHOS, "Informe Violencia en el Magdalena Medio, 1991-1992."

78 Letter from Saulo Segura to the Attorney General, December 7, 1993.

79 Letter from Felipe Gómez to the Attorney General, November 29, 1994. According to local human rights groups, Maj. Walter Javier Hurtado, apparently the same one and assigned to the Nueva Granada Battalion, had established a reputation as particularly aggressive. In 1993, when a government official and member of CREDHOS tried to locate a detainee at the base, Major Hurtado attacked the CREDHOS representative physically, accusing him of "working for the bandits [guerriIlas]." Far from reprimanding his officer, base commander Lt. Col. Luis García Chávez also insulted the human rights workers, calling them "the defenders of the guerrillas." CREDHOS S.O.S., July 1993.

80 Colonel Quiñones has denied these charges. Letter from Lt. Col. Rodrigo Quiñones Cárdenas Maj. Jairo Osorio Morales, and Maj. Rafael Colón Torres to Orlando Vásquez Velásquez, Procurador, October 28, 1994.

81 Testimony of Carlos Alberto Vergara Amaya to the attorney general 's office, February 11, 1994.

82 Letter from Saulo Segura Palacios to the Attorney General, December 7, 1993.

83 Letter from Felipe Gómez to the attorney general's office, November 29, 1994.

84 After the ban on arming paramilitaries in 1989, Decree 2535, implemented on December 17, 1993, added further detail to Colombia's already strict weapons restrictions by naming specific arms restricted solely for military use, including pistols above .38 caliber, semiautomatic rifles above .22 caliber, all automatic weapons, weapons that have been modified after fabrication to increase their power, and accessories like silencers and infrared scopes. Andrés Soto, Paulina Zuleta. and Paula Peña, Las armas de fuego ligeras en Colombia: alcances, diversidad y control (Santafé de Bogotá: Centro de Estudios Internacionales, Jan.-March, 1994), pp. 18-20.

85 Letter from Felipe Gómez to the attorney general's office, November 29, 1994: and his testimony to the Attorney General, February 8, 1995.

86 Ibid.

87 For a summary of military - paramilitary collaboration in the region, see Justice and Peace, El Proyecto Paramilitar en la Región de Chucurí (Santafé de Bogotá: Justice and Peace, August 1992).

88 Jorge Gómez Lizarazo, "Colombian Blood, U.S. Guns," New York Times, January 28, 1992.

89 The previous year, CREDHOS members Alvaro Bustos Castro and Humberto Hernández were murdered in circumstances that suggest the involvement of the security forces. CREDHOS, "Informe Violencia en el Magdalena Medio, 1991-1992."

90 "Los derechos humanos en el Magdalena Medio de Colombia," Reporte de Derechos Humanos, Instituto Latinoamericano de Servicios Legales Alternativos, Vol. 1, No. 3, April 1992.

91 Ibid.

92 Letter from Carlos David López to the attorney general, December 7, 1993.

93 Ibid.

94 Human Rights Watch interview with "Enrique," a member of the team, Santafé de Bogotá, June 13, 1992.

95 Letter from Carlos David López to the attorney general, December 7, 1993.

96 According to Segura, Gerardo Alvarez and the Cataño brothers were among the perpetrators of the La Rochela massacre in January 1989. Segura told Human Rights Watch that the Cataño brothers had previously been paramilitaries, and had boasted of training with foreign instructors. Human Rights Watch interview, Modelo Prison, Santafé de Bogotá, September 18, 1995.

97 Letter from Carlos David López to the attorney general, December 7, 1993.

98 Human Rights Watch interview, Modelo Prison, Santafé de Bogotá, September 18, 1995.

99 Human Rights Watch interview, Barrancabermeja, June 6, 1992.

100 Human Rights Watch interviews, Orito, Putumayo, June 1992.

101 Ibid. The murder was never carried out, and Narváez won the election only to discover the plot after his inauguration. "Lucas" was later killed in circumstances that remain unclear.

102 Human Rights Watch interviews in Putumayo, June 1992.

103 This quote is based on notes Human Rights Watch took on a copy of the report shown to us by General Gutiérrez titled Report No. 3728BR14-B2-263, "Asunto: Informe desaparición personas," addressed to the commander of the Second Division and dated June 2, 1992.

104 Ibid.

105 According to López, Ulloa's wife brought a civil suit against the state charging that her husband was killed by the army. Letter from Carlos David López to the Attorney General, December 7, 1993.

106 CREDHOS, "Informe Violencia en el Magdalena Medio, 1991-1992."

107 Letter from Saulo Segura Palacios to the Attorney General, December 7, 1993.

108 Translation by Human Rights Watch. Ibid.

109 Translation by Human Rights Watch. "Los casetes de la red," La Prensa, January 5, 1994.

110 Testimony of Carlos Alberto Vergara Amaya to the attorney general's office, February 11, 1994.

111 "Salen del país ex militares de la Armada," El Tiempo, February 15, 1994.

112 Human Rights Watch interview, Modelo Prison, Santafé de Bogotá, September 18, 1995.

113 Declarations by Saulo Segura, July 1, 1994, and Carlos David López, July, 4, 1994, before Consul Jaime Santos Rodríguez, Panama.

114 "Inteligencia de la Armada habría permitido asesinatos," El Tiempo, August 4, 1994.

115 Human Rights Watch interview, July 11, 1996.

116 Decision of Alfonso Ospina Bonilla, Tribunal Superior Militar, December 15, 1994.

117 Human Rights Watch interview, attorney general's office, Santafé de Bogotá, July 9, 1996.

118 Human Rights Watch interviews, Sabana de Torres, April 9, 1995.

119 Ibid.

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