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Viewing cable 06BOGOTA10826, GOC PEACE COMMISSIONER ON PARAMILITARY LINKS TO

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06BOGOTA10826 2006-11-29 22:10 2011-02-20 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bogota
VZCZCXYZ0004
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #0826/01 3332229
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 292229Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1088
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA IMMEDIATE 7288
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS IMMEDIATE 8468
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ NOV 8383
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA IMMEDIATE 4516
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID IMMEDIATE 9521
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO IMMEDIATE 0351
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA IMMEDIATE 9788
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS IMMEDIATE 0987
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO IMMEDIATE 5174
RUEHSJ/AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE IMMEDIATE 4257
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO IMMEDIATE 2210
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA IMMEDIATE 0128
RUEHBO/USMILGP BOGOTA CO IMMEDIATE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA IMMEDIATE 1402
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 010826 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/29/2016 
TAGS: MARR PGOV PREL PTER CO CS CU FR NO SP SZ
SUBJECT: GOC PEACE COMMISSIONER ON PARAMILITARY LINKS TO 
GOC OFFICIALS, ELN AND THE FARC 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William B. Wood for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
1. (C) Summary:  Peace Commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo said 
the GOC is committed to uncovering the truth about 
paramilitary links to Colombia's political, economic, and 
military elites, but warned that the process would produce 
substantial political and institutional costs.  He is urging 
President Uribe to reach out to opposition political parties 
in an effort to agree on a unified approach to manage the 
institutional damage resulting from the revelations.  He does 
not expect any breakthroughs at the next round of ELN talks, 
but hopes to make progress on substantive issues.  Restrepo 
said the GOC has authorized the accompanying countries to 
convey to the FARC that the GOC will not agree to talks on a 
humanitarian accord unless the FARC halts terrorist actions, 
makes a good faith gesture such as providing proof of life, 
and puts forth a viable proposal. End Summary 
 
Revelations of Colombian Congress-Paramilitary Ties 
 
2. (C) Peace Commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo told us 
November 22 the GOC supports the ongoing judicial 
investigations of links between Colombian Congressmen and 
paramilitary leaders.  The peace process aimed to produce the 
truth about paramilitary crimes*including their links to 
regional political, economic and military elites*and the 
revelations will continue.  This is key to helping Colombia 
break with its past.  Still, he said the GOC is paying a high 
political cost, since many of the congressmen involved are 
members of President Uribe's coalition.  The GOC's failure to 
capture paramilitary leader Vicente Castano and other 
paramilitary fugitives, its inability to prevent the 
emergence of new criminal groups, and the Fiscalia's slow 
implementation of the Justice and Peace Law are exacerbating 
this problem. 
 
3. (C) Restrepo said the danger is that opposition political 
parties will continue to exploit the exposure of 
paramilitary-political class links for purely partisan 
advantage.  This will not only damage President Uribe and his 
government, but will also severely undermine the credibility 
and effectiveness of Colombia's public institutions. 
Restrepo said he is urging President Uribe to try to agree 
with the opposition Liberal and Polo Democratico parties on a 
unified approach to manage the institutional damage resulting 
from the investigations.  He recognized that such a deal 
would require the GOC to offer the opposition concrete 
advantages, including government positions and a commitment 
to pursue the investigations wherever they might lead. 
Restrepo said such an agreement would be difficult to 
achieve, especially given the personal bitterness between 
many political leaders, but said it would be worth it to 
structure the public political debate. 
 
Paramilitary Leaders in La Ceja and New Criminal Groups 
 
4. (C) Restrepo said the paramilitary leaders in La Ceja 
"feel trapped" and cannot agree on a common strategy. 
Leaders such as Jorge 40 and Macaco are losing control over 
their organizations, and fear the newly emerging criminal 
groups.  Omega, Jorge 40's main military leader, was killed 
on November 18 in Medellin by narcotraffickers intent on 
seizing 40's territory.  Restrepo said La Ceja group is 
looking to Vicente Castano for leadership.  The November 6 
letter by Castano accusing the GOC of violating its deal with 
the paramilitaries was drafted in consultation with the La 
Ceja detainees, and the group is increasingly unwilling to 
cooperate with the JPL process.  Restrepo doubted that more 
than 50 paramilitaries would eventually ratify their 
willingness to confess under the Justice and Peace Law (JPL). 
 He said the GOC would subject those who do not ratify to the 
ordinary justice system, including extradition, but warned 
this would involve security, political and legal risks. 
 
5. (C) Restrepo said Vicente Castano offered to meet with him 
 
November 21 under specific conditions, but he had refused. 
Restrepo said the GOC is searching for Castano, but it would 
be difficult to locate and detain him.  The paramilitary 
leader has deep pockets, operates his businesses through 
multiple intermediaries, and is prepared to spend years on 
the run.  Restrepo said the GOC faces similar difficulties in 
combating new criminal groups.  Narcotraffickers*including 
the FARC*are linking up with former paramilitary mid-level 
commanders to build their own military capacity.  The rural 
police, or carabineros, have captured 460 members of these 
groups, but have been unable to destroy a single organization 
or to arrest their growth.  Restrepo claimed current 
counternarcotics efforts are ineffective, making it difficult 
for the GOC to halt the formation of new, narco-based, 
paramilitary groups. 
 
ELN 
 
6. (C) Restrepo does not expect the next round of talks in 
Havana in December to produce any breakthroughs, but hopes to 
make some progress on substantive issues.  The GOC will try 
to use the ELN's desire for international funding to press 
for ELN commitments on a ceasefire and a halt to kidnapping. 
It is unacceptable for the ELN to continue kidnapping, which 
it does at the rate of a victim a week, while talks continue. 
 He would meet with ELN negotiators Antonio Garcia, Francisco 
Galan, and Juan Cuellar, as well as the accompanying 
countries, in Caracas on November 23 to lay the groundwork 
for the Havana meeting.  Restrepo reiterated his fear that 
the ELN is not serious about an agreement, and is only using 
the talks to strengthen its ties with civil society and the 
international community.  He conceded, however, that the GOC 
is not prepared to break off talks at this point. 
 
7. (C) Restrepo complained the GOC receives little help from 
other participants in the negotiations.  The accompanying 
countries*Spain, Norway and Switzerland*routinely yield to 
the ELN or adopt a neutral stance.  For example, the ELN 
claims it has a commitment from Norway to provide it with 
500,000 Euros with no strings attached.  The soft approach of 
the accompanying countries toward the ELN complicates his 
efforts to use international funding as leverage in the 
negotiations.  He said the guarantors are "unreliable" and 
have no influence over the ELN.  Lastly, Restrepo noted that 
the civil society participants are all ELN sympathizers or 
GOC critics. 
 
FARC 
 
8. (C) Restrepo said he met with representative of the three 
accompanying countries*Spain, France and Switzerland*in 
Paris in early November to explain the GOC's decision to 
break off overtures to the FARC after the group's October 19 
bombing in Bogota.  He also outlined the GOC's position that 
no talks on a humanitarian accord could occur until the FARC 
suspended terrorist actions, made a good faith gesture such 
as providing proof of life, and put forth a viable proposal 
for discussion.  Restrepo said the French were initially 
critical of the GOC position, but later voiced understanding. 
 He said the GOC approved a request by the countries to reach 
out to the FARC to convey the GOC stance.  Restrepo added 
that President Uribe had also authorized political operator 
Alvaro Leyva to do the same. 
 
9. (C) Despite these contacts, Restrepo doubted the FARC 
would respond favorably.  The FARC continues to believe it 
can outlast President Uribe.  With each Colombian legislator 
tied to the paramilitaries, the FARC feel politically 
stronger vis--vis the GOC.  The recent mistrial in the Simon 
Trinidad case further inflated the FARC's sense of its 
political power.   Moreover, FARC success in infiltrating 
territory vacated by the paramilitaries has strengthened its 
military position on the ground and made the group even more 
intransigent. 
 
10. (C) Restrepo said the GOC has "great hopes" that 
increased use of high technology weapons*coupled with 
improved intelligence*will enable it to kill or capture a 
FARC secretariat member, thereby forcing the FARC to begin 
serious negotiations.  He said a GOC success against a 
Secretariat member would be a serious blow to the group's 
 
SIPDIS 
mystique and image of invincibility.  Still, Restrepo said 
such an action alone would be unlikely to bring the FARC to 
the negotiating table. 
WOOD 

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