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Viewing cable 06BOGOTA11005, URIBE TRANSFERS EX-PARAMILITARY LEADERS TO MAXIMUM

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06BOGOTA11005 2006-12-04 21:09 2011-02-20 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bogota
VZCZCXYZ0007
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #1005/01 3382149
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 042149Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1192
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 7300
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 8492
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ DEC LIMA 4540
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA 9804
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 5197
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 3791
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 011005 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/04/2016 
TAGS: KJUS PGOV PINR PREL PTER CO
SUBJECT: URIBE TRANSFERS EX-PARAMILITARY LEADERS TO MAXIMUM 
SECURITY PRISON 
 
REF: A. BOGOTA 10958 
 
     B. BOGOTA 10976 
 
Classified By: Political Counselor John S. Creamer. 
Reasons: 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
------- 
Summary 
------- 
 
1.  (C) On December 1, President Uribe ordered the transfer 
of the 59 ex-paramilitary leaders being held at the "La Ceja" 
detention center to the Itagui maximum-security prison in 
Antioquia Department.  Uribe said he took this decision 
because of escape plan rumors, and allegations that the 
leaders had ordered murders from La Ceja.  Still, Interior 
and Justice Minister Holguin said the paramilitary peace 
process continued, and Prosecutor General Iguaran stressed 
that the Fiscalia would soon take the first "version libres" 
under the Justice and Peace Law.  Reaction to Uribe's 
decision has been largely positive.  End summary. 
 
---------------------------------------- 
Uribe Orders Transfer of Ex-Para Leaders 
---------------------------------------- 
 
2.  (U) President Uribe ordered on December 1 the transfer of 
the 59 ex-paramilitary leaders being held at the "La Ceja" 
detention center to the Itagui maximum-security prison in 
Antioquia Department.  The ex-paras had initially expressed 
opposition to the move, but relented in the face of 300 
heavily armed troops and police officers. 
 
3.  (U) Uribe said the transfer was in response to escape 
rumors and recent murders of narcotraffickers and other 
criminal associates of the ex-para leaders.  The GOC suspects 
that some para leaders in La Ceja planned the murders of 
"Omega" and "Danielito," as well as other close associates of 
"Jorge 40," "Don Berna," "Macaco," and "Diego Vecino."  Uribe 
had earlier said the leaders could be extradited if it was 
confirmed they were behind the murders.  The President also 
announced on November 30 that he feared La Ceja would end up 
becoming another La Catedral, the luxurious prison from which 
narcotrafficking kingpin Pablo Escobar managed his criminal 
activities and later escaped. 
 
4.  (U) Minister of Interior and Justice Carlos Holguin told 
the press on December 1 that the move stemmed from, "The 
limited security measures (at La Ceja) and persistent rumors 
of an escape. The GOC had to avoid this at any price."  He 
added that despite this recent measure, the paramilitary 
peace process continued.  Prosecutor General Iguaran said on 
November 4 that the implementation of the Justice and Peace 
Law was still on course and the first "version libres" would 
be taken soon. 
 
------------------------- 
Dynamics Within 'La Ceja' 
------------------------- 
 
5.  (C) In recent weeks tensions and personal grudges had 
grown among the ex-paras in La Ceja.  'El Tiempo' reported 
that just a week ago a fistfight broke out between "Mancuso," 
"Macaco," and "Javier Montanez," prompting other ex-para 
leaders to intervene.  XXXXXXXXXXXX told us on November 30 that the killings of "Omega" and "Danielito" were part of a paramilitary 
strategy to kill those who know the most.  Political analyst XXXXXXXXXXXX told us on November 30th that Senator Miguel de La Espriella, who publicly revealed his participation in a 2001 meeting between paramilitary chiefs 
and approximately 40 legislators, was acting on behalf of 
former paramilitary leaders in La Ceja, who hope to pressure 
the GOC to agree to an eventual national pact or truth 
commission, which would undo the Justice and Peace Law (ref 
A). 
 
6.  (U) Also on December 1, an Inspector General's Office 
(Procuraduria) report said security conditions at La Ceja 
were insufficient.  The report highlighted how each ex-para 
leader had a cellular phone, unlimited access to the 
internet, and approximately 50 visitors a day. 
 
---------------------------- 
Public and Private Reactions 
---------------------------- 
 
7.  (C) Public reaction to the GOC's decision to transfer the 
ex-paras to a maximum-security prison has been positive. 
Still, in at least four areas of the country there were 
limited public protests against Uribe's decision.  Some 300 
people blocked the highway between Bogota and Medellin for 
nine hours.  Several press commentators attributed Uribe's 
decision to an attempt to insulate himself from the 
'para-politician' scandal (Ref B).  On December 2, a 
spokesperson for the former paramilitary leaders said, "Every 
time there is a political crisis, the smokescreen of blaming 
the paramilitary leaders reappears."  Meanwhile, former 
President and Liberal Party leader Cesar Gaviria told us on 
December 4 that Uribe did the right thing by transferring the 
paras to Itagui.  Still, Gaviria cautioned that it will be 
hard to ensure their security in a prison that also houses 
guerrilla and narco elements. 
DRUCKER 

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