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Viewing cable 06BOGOTA7460, GOC PEACE COMMISSIONER ON ELN, PARAMILITARIES AND

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06BOGOTA7460 2006-08-15 18:06 2011-03-08 16:04 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bogota
Appears in these articles:
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotasDestacadas/Investigacion2702320.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotaPrincipal/Investigacion2702324.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2702325.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2702326.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2702327.aspx
VZCZCXYZ0002
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #7460/01 2271838
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 151838Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7955
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA IMMEDIATE 7045
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS IMMEDIATE 8068
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ AUG 8149
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA IMMEDIATE 4136
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID IMMEDIATE 9278
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO IMMEDIATE 0331
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA IMMEDIATE 9425
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS IMMEDIATE 0909
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO IMMEDIATE 4791
RUEHSJ/AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE IMMEDIATE 4074
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO IMMEDIATE 2113
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA IMMEDIATE 0101
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA IMMEDIATE 1369
RUEHBO/USMILGP BOGOTA CO IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 007460 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/14/2016 
TAGS: MARR PGOV PREL PTER CO CS CU FR NO SP SZ
SUBJECT: GOC PEACE COMMISSIONER ON ELN, PARAMILITARIES AND 
THE FARC 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William B. Wood for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
1.(C) Summary:  GOC Peace Commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo 
told the Ambassador August 8 he would soon meet with ELN 
leader Antonio Garcia to deliver a bold peace proposal aimed 
at accelerating the ELN peace process.  He urged the U.S. to 
insist that the ELN renounce violence and to call for justice 
for ELN members who had committed serious crimes.  Such U.S. 
action would enhance the GOC,s leverage in the ELN talks. 
On the paramilitaries, Restrepo said GOC issuance of 
implementing regulations for the Justice and Peace 
law*despite the high domestic and international political 
costs*would create an opportunity to consolidate the 
demobilization of paramilitary leaders and their 
organizations.  Restrepo said GOC overtures to the FARC are 
subordinate to the GOC's democratic security strategy.  The 
GOC believes the FARC is only interested in tactical talks at 
this time.  End Summary 
 
ELN 
--- 
2.(C) Restrepo told the Ambassador August 8 he would soon 
meet discreetly with ELN leader Antonio Garcia to deliver an 
&audacious8 GOC peace proposal aimed at accelerating the 
ELN process.  If Garcia reacts favorably, it will start a 
formal peace process.  The GOC believes conditions are ripe 
for such an initiative, since the ELN,s Central Command 
(COCE) recognizes it is increasingly losing control over its 
military fronts, is under growing Colombian military 
pressure, and faces a significant FARC threat.  Some ELN 
fronts are becoming more involved in narcotrafficking; others 
are in danger of being absorbed by the FARC.  The ELN cannot 
survive two years of desultory peace talks, Restrepo said. 
If the process dragged on, the ELN would disintegrate. 
Moreover, ELN leaders want very much to participate, in some 
form, in the October 2007 local elections.  Since this would 
require two sessions of congress to approve a constitutional 
reform, there must be forward progress quickly. 
 
3.(C) Restrepo said the GOC,s peace proposal would focus on 
a cease-fire, disarmament, and the group,s entry into the 
democratic political process.  The ELN rejected the notion 
that the Justice and Peace Law would apply to its members. 
The GOC is not working on an alternative legal framework, but 
does not rule out the possibility.  Restrepo said the GOC is 
not in a strong enough political position at the moment to 
insist that the justice issue be included.  &If we cannot 
get the ELN to accept a ceasefire, how can we push for 
justice?8 he asked.  The GOC is under no pressure from 
Colombian or international civil society, the European 
countries accompanying the process (Spain, Norway and 
Switzerland), or Colombian public opinion to raise justice 
issues with the ELN. 
 
4.(C) Restrepo said the ELN,s desire to participate in 
elections could help introduce the justice issue into the 
talks.  ELN members who had committed human rights abuses 
could not hold office without constitutional reform. 
Congress would have to approve such a change, which could 
trigger a public debate over the appropriate punishment for 
ELN members. 
 
5.(C) Restrepo said the designation of the ELN as a terrorist 
group by the U.S. and the European Union (EU) gives the 
international community some leverage over the group.  The 
ELN wants to get off the terrorist lists and to be viewed as 
a legitimate political actor.  Restrepo urged the U.S. to 
insist that the ELN renounce violence and to call for justice 
for ELN members who have committed serious crimes.  He also 
asked that the U.S. coordinate such a stance with the EU. 
This would enhance the GOC,s bargaining position, and would 
put the justice issue on the negotiating table. 
 
6.(C) Restrepo said that despite the ELN,s weakness, 
negotiations with the group would not be easy. The ELN is &a 
 
group of kidnappers with good public relations.8  & They 
have a kidnappers, mentality of give me, give me, give me,8 
Restrepo declared.  Still, if all went well, the next round 
of talks*while not yet scheduled*would occur in Havana.  It 
would be a mistake to accede to the ELN,s wish that the 
talks shift to Europe without first arriving at basic 
agreements, Restrepo said. 
 
Paramilitary Process 
-------------------- 
7.(C) Restrepo said the paramilitary process aims to take 
down the paramilitary (para) leaders and their organizations 
in a slow, step-by-step fashion.  It is key to keep the paras 
at the negotiating table.  The process almost broke down 
after the Constitutional Court,s May 19 press release 
outlining its ruling on the Justice and Peace Law (Law 975). 
Many paras asserted that given the ruling, their signatures 
on the Law 975 list of paras seeking the law,s benefits are 
no longer valid.  Para leader Ernesto Baez had urged para 
commander El Aleman not to demobilize his forces due to the 
ruling, but Aleman had ignored the request.  Still, the 
process remains fragile.  Restrepo said the collapse of the 
para process would be a disaster.  It would radicalize 
mid-level commanders, lead to renewed violence, and undermine 
any ELN process. 
 
8.(C) Restrepo said the next step is for the GOC to issue 
implementing regulations clarifying the Constitutional 
Court,s ruling on Law 975.  He acknowledged the regulations 
would be controversial and that the GOC would pay a high 
domestic and international political cost.  Still, the 
issuance of the regulations was key, since it would give the 
GOC the political strength to hand over the Law 975 list of 
paramilitaries to the Prosecutor General (Fiscalia).  If the 
paras continued to object to the list, the GOC would be in a 
strong political position to go after them militarily.  If 
the paras acquiesced, the Law 975 process would start in 
terms of both truth and reparations.  This would create a new 
political dynamic, and would offer an opportunity to 
consolidate the demobilization of para leaders and their 
organizations.  It would also invovle the Fiscalia in the 
process. 
 
9.(C) Asked about Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, meeting 
with paramilitary leaders in San Jose on August 4, Restrepo 
said there was almost no prior coordination with the GOC. 
The Costa Rican Foreign Ministry had called Restrepo the day 
before the meeting to inform him that 20 paramilitary leaders 
would meet with Arias in San Jose.  The GOC objected, and in 
the end, only four paras traveled to Costa Rica.  Restrepo 
said in a follow-up meeting with President Uribe in Bogota 
after the inauguration, it was clear that Arias, overture to 
the paras was designed to give the Costa Rican President a 
role in the GOC,s peace efforts with the ELN and FARC as 
well.  The GOC would resist such a move.  Still, the GOC 
appreciated that the paras, meeting with Arias had enhanced 
the credibility of the para process.  In addition, the 
Fundacion Arias has agreed to provide some technical 
assistance to the process. 
 
FARC 
---- 
10.(C) Restrepo said President Uribe is quietly conveying to 
the FARC his willingness to talk through the Catholic Church, 
international community (Spain, France and Switzerland), and 
local interlocutors such as Alvaro Leyva and Carlos Lozano. 
The GOC also has its own direct channel to the group.  He 
said the GOC has no illusions the FARC will respond 
positively in the near term, but it suits the GOC,s 
interests to be perceived as leaving a door open to the 
group.   Still, the peace initiative is subordinate to the 
GOC,s democratic security policy.  The GOC,s overtures to 
the FARC are &a skirmish we need to win to advance our 
military goals.8  Restrepo said the GOC would not make a 
public offer to either the FARC or ELN to avoid putting 
 
pressure on itself. 
 
11.(C) Restrepo said the FARC continues to take an "arrogant" 
approach to the GOC, conditioning the start of broad peace 
talks on GOC demilitarization of two departments*Caqueta and 
Putumayo.  The FARC apparently envisions these departments 
enjoying only a loose territorial association to Colombia. 
He said the FARC is alarmed by U.S. indictments of over 50 
FARC leaders, and will seek a no-extradition commitment from 
the GOC and the U.S. in any process.  Still, at the moment, 
FARC leaders believe they have absorbed the Colombian 
military,s best punch and are still standing.  They feel no 
pressure to engage in more than tactical discussions. 
Restrepo speculated that the Colombian military would need to 
kill or capture one or two secretariat members before the 
FARC would consider serious peace discussions. 
 
 
 
WOOD