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News > Latin America

Colombian Defense Minister Evades Senate Summons

  • Colombian Defense Minister Diego Molano (C), 2022.

    Colombian Defense Minister Diego Molano (C), 2022. | Photo: Twitter/ @hervin_mendoza

Published 4 May 2022

He must answer about a massacre in Putumayo, where the military murdered civilians and hid what happened by altering the crime scene and placing weapons on the corpses.

On Tuesday, Green Party Senator Antonio Sanguino denounced that the Colombian Defense Minister Diego Molano eluded the political control debate in the plenary before the Senate, which would analyze his responsibility in the Puerto Leguizamo massacre.


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Molano presented "a justified excuse" alleging that he was carrying out "extraordinary security and defense matters in the Orinoquia zone," said Gregorio Eljach, the Senate plenary secretary.

In this way, the senior official of President Ivan Duque's administration managed to be absent from a meeting scheduled with due anticipation for Tuesday, May 3. However, the plenary debate was rescheduled for Wednesday, May 4. This political maneuver was expected given the seriousness of the accusations against Molano.

Democratic Pole senator Ivan Cepeda announced that he would present to the plenary session new data on "False Positives," a term that refers to the extrajudicial killings of civilians that are presented by the Colombian army as if they were cases of guerrillas killed in combat.

The tweet reads, "The unprecedented confessions of 10 soldiers this week opened a new chapter in the 'False Positives' scandal, which refers to the murder of 6,402 civilians reported as guerrillas killed in combat by the Army between 2002 and 2008, during the administration of Alvaro Uribe."

This happened precisely in the "Putumayo Massacre", which occurred between March 28 and 29, in a rural area of Puerto Leguizamo, where the Colombian military carried out an operation against the dissidents of the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). As a result of this operation, eleven people were murdered and later presented as "drug traffickers." Among the citizens killed were a minor and an Indigenous authority.

Decent Coalition lawmaker Maria Pizarro denounced that this military operation did not take into account the principles of distinction, precaution, and proportionality in the use of force.

"Indiscriminate attacks against civilians, forced disappearances, torture, and extrajudicial executions were carried out," she said and explained that the military hid what really happened by altering the crime scene, moving the corpses, and placing weapons on them.

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