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News > Latin America

US Documents Link the Colombian State With Paramilitaries

  • Paramilitary Carlos Jimenez being repatriated to Colombia, July 20, 2019.

    Paramilitary Carlos Jimenez being repatriated to Colombia, July 20, 2019. | Photo: Twitter/ @ElNuevoSiglo

Published 11 October 2021

The documents were used as evidence during the trial of a former paramilitary leader who was involved in systematic killings and massacres.

Spain's outlet El Pais published an article claiming that declassified documents from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the U.S. Department of State (DoE) show the Colombian State and the paramilitary groups maintained a "symbiotic relationship."


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This information was revealed in the trial against Carlos Mario Jimenez, a Colombian paramilitary leader, in a Miami federal court on Sept 27, 2021. This court established the existence of a relationship between the paramilitary groups, responsible for numerous extrajudicial killings and the Colombian government.

Judge Edwin Torres found that the Bolivar Central Block (BCB), which was a part of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), committed human rights violations that were abetted by the Colombian military.

“There is an abundance of evidence in this record that the BCB operated in a symbiotic relationship with Colombian state actors,” Torres said, adding that “State actors actively supported the BCB operations through intelligence sharing, weapons, and military uniforms."

The CIA documents show that the BCB was detained, relocated, and promptly released during a military operation.

"The Colombian's Armed Forces have not actively persecuted the members of the paramilitary groups because they see them as allies in the fight against the guerrilla", the U.S. Embassy in Bogota stated, as mentioned by a 1999 confidential report.

In 2000, the BCB carried out the El Salado's "Blood Party", a massacre in which the far-right terrorists tortured and killed 60 people in a span of 6 days. This happened while they forced the victims to participate in a lottery to determine the order of the executions.

"The army knew the paramilitaries were near El Salado, but they left right before the massacre", reads another Embassy briefing.

Carlos Mario Jimenez (aka Macaco) was held liable in court for the murder of a community leader, Eduardo Estrada, and the torture of his wife 20 years ago. His group was responsible for several executions and massacres for over 2 decades.

Jimenez was previously tried solely on drug-trafficking charges, after been extradited to the U.S. in 2008, as part of President Alvaro Uribe's demobilization efforts. He was found guilty and sentenced to 33 years of prison, but served only 11 after collaborating with the U.S. government. In 2019, he was then repatriated back to Colombia, where he remains under custody.

“The U.S. government had the opportunity to prosecute Macaco for his human rights crimes when they sought his extradition from Colombia,” said Daniel McLaughlin, a senior staff attorney at the Center for Justice and Accountability, an international human rights organization.

“Its decision to focus solely on narco-trafficking charges, however, means that the ruling may be the only accountability Macaco sees for his human rights crimes,” he added.

The court ruling against Macaco is of civil nature and only forces him to pay monetary compensation. However, this could be an important legal precedent that could entail new legal actions from the victims of Colombia's paramilitarism.

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