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Viewing cable 06BOGOTA1180, FIRST DEMOBILIZATIONS OF THE YEAR INCLUDE BIGGEST

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06BOGOTA1180 2006-02-08 20:08 2011-02-20 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bogota
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #1180/01 0392029
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 082029Z FEB 06
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2046
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 6546
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 7151
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ FEB LIMA 3229
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA 8748
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 3832
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 3433
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHOND/DIRONDCP WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 001180 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/23/2015 
TAGS: KJUS PGOV PREL PTER CO
SUBJECT: FIRST DEMOBILIZATIONS OF THE YEAR INCLUDE BIGGEST 
TO DATE 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William B. Wood. 
Reasons: 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1. (C) On January 20, the United Self-Defense Forces of 
Colombia (AUC) Mineros Bloc demobilized 2,789 of its members 
at a farm outside Taraza, Antioquia Department.  This was the 
biggest single demobilization since the peace process began 
in late 2003 and the first time that representatives of the 
Prosecutor General's Office were present at a demobilization 
since August 2005.  The debriefing or "version libre" was a 
longer version recommended by the Embassy, which consisted of 
16 questions including: alias, knowledge of any major 
criminal actions by the group, illicit assets, and 
information on the location of hostages.  (Note: the original 
"version libre" consisted of five basic questions.)  Taraza 
residents, who live in an area known to be heavily involved 
in coca production, plan to incorporate crop substitution 
programs in rubber, cacao, and passion fruit.  Residents are 
fearful of what the FARC might do once all the former 
paramilitaries reintegrate back into society.  Taraza Mayor 
Reinaldo Posso recommended that the Army pay special 
attention because some reports indicated a guerrilla presence 
had already been detected in the area. An additional four 
blocs demobilized between January 20 and February 6, bringing 
the total to over 22,000. End Summary. 
 
------------------------------------- 
2,789 MINEROS BLOC MEMBERS DEMOBILIZE 
------------------------------------- 
 
2. (C) On January 20, 2,789 Mineros Bloc members of the AUC 
demobilized at a farm outside of the town of Taraza, 
Antioquia Department.  This was the biggest single 
demobilization since the peace process began in late 2003. 
According to GOC officials, AUC logistical and intelligence 
personnel demobilized, which inflated the numbers.  There 
were also a large number of women, though the number has not 
been confirmed.  According to Mineros Bloc and AUC leader 
Ramiro Vanoy Murillo, AKA "Cuco Vanoy," who also demobilized, 
his group surrendered a helicopter (license HK 4185), several 
vehicles, a large quantity of explosives, and a medical 
clinic. 
 
--------------------------------------- 
HIGHLIGHTS FROM DEMOBILIZATION SITE VISIT 
--------------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) Embassy officials who attended the demobilization 
observed that this was the first time the Prosecutor 
General's Office (Fiscalia) had been present at a 
demobilization since August 2005.  This was at the request of 
President Uribe, who initially had decided to stop taking 
"version libres" during demobilizations in August because the 
environment did not permit detailed debriefings.  However, 
with the promulgation of the new implementing decree making 
the taking of a "version libre" a process rather than a 
one-time event, Uribe ordered resumption of initial 
statements.  (Since August, over 7,000 former combatants have 
demobilized without giving their "version libre.")  A team of 
17 prosecutors from the Fiscalia's Specialized National Units 
in Bogota -- antiterrorism, kidnapping, and money laundering 
-- attended the demobilization.  There were also 10 
investigators from the Fiscalia's Technical Investigation 
Unit (CTI) taking fingerprints, DNA samples, and photos. 
Additionally, the AUC leadership made available 10 lawyers to 
accompany individuals as they presented their initial 
"version libre."  The "version libre" was the longer version 
recommended by the Embassy, which consisted of 16 questions 
including: alias, commanders' name(s), knowledge of any major 
criminal actions by the group, knowledge of any illicit 
assets, knowledge of any hostages, and any other information 
the individual would like to volunteer.  Moreover, as part of 
the initial presentation of the version libre, each 
 
individual signed a statement saying that he/she was 
voluntarily making the statement. 
 
4. (U) The demobilization circuit included: 
 
-- Initial sign-in and verification of official troop list by 
the Peace Commissioner's Office 
 
-- Verification of national identity card ("cedula") by the 
National Civil Registry 
 
-- Criminal background check by Department of Administrative 
Security (DAS, FBI equivalent) 
 
-- Renunciation statement and request for legal processing 
under 782 with the Ministry of Interior and Justice (MOI/J) 
 
-- Registration for Reincorporation Program with MOI/J 
through assistance by OIM 
 
-- Verification by the Organization of American States 
Mission in Colombia 
 
-- Processing by the Fiscalia and CTI 
 
-- Arms and material identification and verification by 
Antiterrorism Interagency Group 
 
5. (C) GOC officials announced that a Reference and 
Opportunities Center would be open in the zone to provide 
assistance to the demobilized.  Moreover, representatives of 
the Catholic Church, ranchers, traders, industrialists, and 
professionals from the Mineros Bloc zone of influence formed 
a civic verification commission which will be checking that 
the two sides -- national government and former combatants -- 
fulfill their commitments. 
 
-------------------------------- 
BACKGROUND ON VANOY AND HIS BLOC 
-------------------------------- 
 
6. (C) Vanoy was born in Yacopi, Cundinamarca Department on 
March 31, 1948.  He worked for drug lord Pablo Escobar, but 
later joined the "Pepes" ("People Persecuted by Pablo 
Escobar") where he met the AUC Castano Gil brothers. 
According to press reports, Vanoy bought his way into the AUC 
in 2002.  Nevertheless, Vanoy has stated that he has been in 
the paramilitary forces for approximately 25-30 years.  He 
claims to be connected with large landowners and cattlemen of 
the area and claimed he initially entered the AUC as 
protection for the area from guerrilla incursions and 
threats.  Vanoy is suspected to have shipped drugs to Mexico 
and the United States.  Most shipments were dispatched from a 
landing strip in Caucacia, Antioquia Department, a territory 
he controlled until his demobilization.  Since 1999, U.S. 
authorities have sought him for drug trafficking. 
 
7. (C) Vanoy is believed to own several farms, hotels, 
restaurants, and homes.  Authorities are investigating 
whether he is the owner of several gold mines.  When asked 
why he decided to demobilize, Vanoy responded that the GOC 
was now showing commitment to and capability of protecting 
the area and it was time to "go home to our families."  After 
demobilization he expects "assist" with the reintegration of 
his troops in the area of Caucasia/Taraza and work with the 
communities "if the government will permit him."  He spoke of 
productive projects for the future with "lands that the 
cattlemen would make available" and continuation of some of 
the community projects he helped established in the area. 
 
8. (C) Vanoy's Mineros Bloc maintained a presence in Taraza, 
Caucacia, and Caceres, as well as in other areas of the Lower 
Cauca, where it shared power with the Central Bolivar Bloc, 
under the command of Javier Montanez, AKA "Macaco," a 
structure that controlled coca cultivation over a broad area. 
 Press reports indicate that some things are already changing 
in the area controlled for years by Vanoy.  Inhabitants of 
 
this region say that gasoline sales are down and the men no 
longer patrol in camouflage uniforms. (They also report that 
only six of 30 brothels remain open.)  However, there is 
still a toll at El Alto where paramilitaries charge COP 5,000 
 
per vehicle and control the entrance of unknown people. The 
group still reportedly controls 10 municipalities in the area 
close to the border with Cordoba Department, where about half 
of Antioquia's coca fields, about 5,000 hectares, and gold 
are found.  Although fumigation has curbed coca growing, the 
area remains productive. 
 
--------------------------- 
FROM GROWERS TO ERADICATORS 
--------------------------- 
 
9. (C) The backdrop for the demobilization of the Mineros 
Bloc is that the majority of people in the area made a living 
picking and selling coca leaf.  Vanoy had been viewed as the 
"other authority" for more than 15 years.  Mayor of Taraza 
Reinaldo Posso said there are some 2,000 hectares planted in 
Taraza alone, from which 30 percent of the estimated 
population of 43,000 derives its income.  Although the 
illicit cultivation business in the zone is run by Vanoy, he 
has stated that "it is the government's problem, not mine.  I 
have nothing to do with illicit crops."  According to 
official data, the unemployment rate in the area is 20 
percent. 
 
10. (C) National Reinsertion Program Director Juan David 
Angel announced that the Mineros Bloc, one of the groups most 
involved in the coca business, will become manual eradicators 
of illicit crops in the area.  The mayor's office and several 
large landowners in the region initiated a project, which is 
being implemented by the Rural Association of Rubber Farmers 
of Taraza, to encourage coca leaf pickers to harvest rubber 
instead of coca.  Peasants in the area are hoping for crop 
substitution programs in rubber, cacao, and passion fruit. 
It is hoped that these projects not only benefit the 
demobilized, but also the region's peasants. 
 
-------------------------- 
SECURITY REMAINS A CONCERN 
-------------------------- 
 
11.  (C) Fabio Abella, political adviser to the Mineros Bloc, 
said the bloc was fully committed to peace, but insisted a 
security program with the communities was necessary because 
"otherwise, there is no sense in disarming some men, only to 
see another armed group come in."  The demobilization process 
of the Mineros Bloc was initially affected by reports of the 
presence of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) 
guerrillas in the area.  According to Antioquia Government 
Secretary Jorge Mejia, FARC guerrillas are moving into the 
 
SIPDIS 
spaces vacated by the Mineros Bloc.  Mejia added that this 
situation has already led to the displacement of 27 families 
from La Caucana to the municipal seat of Taraza.  Despite 
these reports, General Oscar Gonzalez of the Army's 7th 
Division stated that there have been no official reports of 
incidents in the rural areas of Taraza.  He did confirm, 
however, that troops had been reinforced in the area. 
According to the municipal human rights representative Jorge 
Eliecer Rocha, the situation in Taraza at the moment is no 
different from that of other towns in the days leading up to 
a demobilization.  He further added that La Caucana was first 
dominated by the guerrillas and later by the self-defense 
groups.  "It is only to be expected," he said, that now the 
FARC would want to recover the territory. 
 
12. (C) Residents are fearful of what the FARC might do once 
all the Mineros Bloc members reintegrate back into society. 
Taraza Mayor Posso recommended that the Army pay special 
attention to the districts of Vista Hermosa and Colorado 
because some reports indicated that a guerrilla presence has 
already been detected.  National, departmental, and local 
authorities spent the weekend visiting communities in Taraza 
and Caceres to explain the reinsertion process for 
demobilized combatants and the security plans to be 
 
implemented in the region. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
ADDITIONAL BLOCS MOVING FORWARD ON DEMOBILIZATION 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
13.  (U) Since the Mineros bloc demobilized, several other 
blocs have followed suit: 
 
--    The remaining half of the Central Bolivar Bloc, 2,520 
members, disarmed; 
 
--    Self Defense Forces of Puerto Boyaca in Buena Vista, 
Bolivar demobilized 742 members; 
 
--    Tayrona Resistance Bloc demobilized 1,166 members; 
 
--    Middle Magdalena Bloc disarmed 1,000 members. 
Demobilizing Middle Magdalena Bloc members, the AUC,s oldest 
bloc, turned in 754 weapons and 15 vehicles during the 
demobilization ceremony in Puerto Triunfo, Magdelena 
Department. 
 
These demobilizations bring the total number of demobilized 
fighters to 22,295. 
WOOD 

=======================CABLE ENDS============================