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The International Actors Designated to Accompany the Implementation of the Peace Process between the Colombian Government and the FARC-EP: A Trojan Horse in the Final Accord?

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The International Actors Designated to Accompany the Implementation of the Peace Process between the Colombian Government and the FARC-EP: A Trojan Horse in the Final Accord?

Female Fighters of FARC’s force. Photographer: Alvaro Ybarra Zavala

Written by Daniel Edgar exclusively for SouthFront

There is a disturbing element in the Final Accord negotiated between the Colombian Government and the FARC-EP, a provision which hasn’t been raised in the public discussions and analysis of the Accord or the negotiations that are taking place to finalize a new agreement following its rejection in the referendum held on the 2nd of October 2016. In the main text of the Accord, the Colombian Government and the FARC-EP emphasized that the UN monitoring group will rely heavily on participation by the member countries of CELAC (Latin America and the Caribbean), and Point 6 of the Accord provides that the international component to accompany implementation of specific aspects of the Accord will be comprised of the countries that served in the roles of guarantors and companions during the dialogues. In this respect the text states: “Point 6: Additionally, the accord creates a mechanism so that the international community can accompany the implementation of the accords in a consistent and integrated manner and contribute to guaranteeing compliance with the Final Accord. In terms of verification it establishes a framework with an international component comprising the countries that have served in the roles of guarantors and companions during the dialogues as well as two international spokespersons, all of which will be assisted with technical support from the University of Notre Dame of the United States.”

However, none of the countries that served as guarantors or companions of the peace process (Cuba, Norway, Venezuela and Chile) have been included among the countries and international organizations that will accompany the implementation of the various provisions of the Accord. In the Protocols and Annexes of the “Final Accord for the termination of the conflict and the construction of a stable and durable peace”, the text states (on page 190): “The FARC-EP and the National Government have agreed that they will request the following countries and international organizations to accompany the implementation of the Final Accord, each one accompanying the implementation of specific points of the general accord…” Although the exclusion of the countries that have accompanied the peace process and other neighbouring countries from the region is disappointing, the aspect that is of most concern is that the United States has been designated as the international actor that will accompany the implementation of three of the most sensitive elements of the Accord: “Point 3.4, The fight to dismantle [criminal] organizations” (together with the UNODC); “Point 3.4, The special unit of investigation” (with the European Union); “Security and personal guarantees” (with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights).

The description is very vague as to the range and types of activities intended to be covered, and how the United States will accompany their implementation. The text states in this respect: “In order to fulfil the specific activities involved with the task of accompanying implementation the priorities will be thematic specialization and the complete articulation of the respective international actors through the establishment of an instance of integration…”

The points listed are described in more detail in the main text and include the following components. “Security guarantees and the fight against the criminal organizations responsible for the homicides and massacres and the attacks against human rights defenders, social and political movements, including those organizations that have been denominated successors of the paramilitary groups and their support networks, and the pre-emption and prosecution of all criminal conduct that may threaten the implementation of the accords and the construction of peace”. The Special Investigations Unit is an elite unit to be established in the National Police Force pursuant to the Accord. The “Security and Personal Guarantees” will presumably include the National Commission of Security Guarantees (another unit to be established pursuant to the Accord) and the Integral Program of Security and Protection for Communities and Organizations in the Territories.

Thus, the country that has been a direct participant in the armed and social conflict (and derived substantial benefits from it), has been designated as a guarantor of the security of the groups and communities that up to now it has systematically and ruthlessly targeted as ‘internal enemies’ together with the Colombian military, intelligence and police forces pursuant to counterinsurgency doctrines developed and orchestrated by US military and intelligence personnel over the last 50 years. Although many details remain to be revealed, there is an abundance of evidence testifying to the destructive role of the United States in the armed conflict, be it through direct military and intelligence planning and operations, associated financial and technical assistance, or via the ‘foreign investments’ of corporations domiciled in the US. In particular, since at least the late 1950s the United States has formulated and directed the military and intelligence doctrines and activities that have had the most devastating impacts on the civilian population and resulted in innumerable atrocities, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Direct US participation has included regular high level military and intelligence commissions to Colombia, the deployment of a large number of military and intelligence personnel to oversee and direct associated operations on a daily basis (and operate and maintain advanced military and intelligence equipment), and military and intelligence training programs.

As exhaustively documented in the essay by Renán Vega Cantor in the final report of the Historic Commission established during the negotiations between the Colombian Government and the FARC-EP to investigate the origin and causes of the social and armed conflict and the reasons for its persistence, the US has had a primordial role in formalizing and ‘perfecting’ the counterinsurgency warfare doctrines and strategies that defined many Colombian civilians and communities as legitimate military targets, including the creation and expansion of the paramilitary groups responsible for the majority of the atrocities and war crimes since the 1990s so that the Colombian and US Governments and ‘security’ forces could claim ‘plausible deniability’. Renán Vega Cantor states of US involvement in the conflict:

“When one analyses the causes of the social and armed conflict in Colombia, the factors and interests that have prolonged the conflict, and the impacts it has had on the civil population, it is apparent that the United States is not simply a minor external influence but has been a direct participant in the conflict due to its prolonged involvement during much of the twentieth century. Public awareness of the participation of the United States has been deliberately minimized by its covert nature; in accordance with this strategy, many of its activities in Colombia have been “planned and executed in such a manner that they can be hidden, or at least to enable plausible deniability of responsibility for such actions.’ These actions are carried out within a relationship of subordination, understood as a relationship of dependency in which the national interests of Colombia have been placed at the service of a third party (the United States), which is perceived as being endowed with political, economic, cultural and moral superiority. It is an unequal and asymmetrical relationship that has assumed a strategic character, as the very existence of the Colombian republic is thought to be inextricably linked to its condition of subordination to the United States, due to which it is more appropriate to speak of a strategic rather than a pragmatic subordination….

A strategic subordination and restricted autonomy are keys to understanding the duration of the conflict, because it is impossible to disregard the absolute centrality of the United States in the definition of the political lines that the power elite in Colombia have adopted; from the anti-communism of the Cold War to the “War on Drugs” and the “Global War against Terrorism”, in each case Washington has provided Colombia´s political and military leaders with the arguments and the agenda…”

The US also had a major role in establishing and directing the DAS, the national intelligence agency, which assisted in the targeting and terrorization of ‘high value targets’ such as community and trade union leaders, human rights defenders and independent and leftist political parties and candidates. Many US corporations (as well as corporations based in the European Union, the other main ‘international companion’ of the implementation of several aspects of the Accord) have also taken an active role in the ‘dirty war’ that has been waged against the Colombian people. Only a very small selection of the documented evidence will be cited here – more extensive documentation, including a translation of the essay by Renán Vega Cantor, is available at: https://independent.academia.edu/DanielEdgar

José Honorio Martinez describes the role of the paramilitary groups in the application of the counterinsurgency doctrine waged by the Colombian Government in close cooperation with the US:

“Para-militarism has been a pillar of the dominant political regime in Colombia, the oligarchic State, since the 1960s. As Giraldo states in the official report of the Historic Commission on the conflict in Colombia and its victims (completed late in 2015):

“The counterinsurgency strategy of the State has been founded upon para-militarism. The official version of the phenomenon places its origin in the 1980s and explains it as arising from the reaction of rural land owners and agricultural and business associations to confront guerrilla actions, in response to which the land owners and businessmen in rural areas decided to create private armies to defend themselves, from which came the name commonly used to refer to such groups, “self-defence forces”. This remains the essence of the official version today. However, the real origin of para-militarism, as proven by official documents, can be traced back to the Yarborough Mission, an official mission to Colombia by officials of the Special Warfare College of Fort Bragg (North Carolina) in February 1962. The members of the commission left a secret document, accompanied by an ultra-secret annex, containing instructions for the formation of mixed groups of civilians and military personnel, trained in secret to be utilized in the event that the national security situation were to deteriorate…”

The formation of paramilitary forces was itself preceded by the creation of private militias at the service of large landowners in the late 1940s and early 1950s that ravaged the countryside during “the Violence” (a brutal civil war that claimed over 200,000 victims and displaced millions of people from rural areas)… The prolongation of the strategy of para-militarism over time and the role that it has played in the neoliberal era, violently displacing rural communities and taking over their land for agricultural, mining, energy and infrastructure mega-projects or to extend the domains of large cattle ranches, signified the construction of a para-State exercising dominion over large swathes of the territory, population and institutions of the country.

While it may well be that the paramilitary armies no longer receive orders directly from the government, that doesn´t mean that substantial sectors within the military establishment and other State institutions don´t still consider them to be allies in the fight against the counterinsurgents and therefore continue supporting them and maintaining the relationship of subordination. Considered in these terms, para-militarism isn´t just a group of criminal gangs that has infiltrated State institutions but rather represents a continuation of the armed elements of the para-State.

The ongoing assassination of human rights defenders, farmers and militants of the opposition (leaders and members of political parties and social movements opposing the traditional political parties and their offshoots) in the country denotes the maintenance of the same pattern of extermination practiced over the decades, at times varying in degree and intensity but always following the same methodology and objectives as outlined and implemented by the doctrine of National Security: anti-communism…

Giraldo describes the essence of this doctrine as follows: “In the arsenal of the doctrine of National Security, fundamentally comprising books (in the Library of the National Army), editorials and articles appearing in the Journal of the Armed Forces and in the Journal of the Army, discourses, presentations and reports of high level military commanders and their advisors, as well as in a collection of Counter-Insurgency Manuals marked as secret or confidential, “communists” are explicitly identified as trade unionists, farmers who don´t sympathize with or who are reluctant to cooperate with military operations on their farms, students that participate in street protests, militants of non-traditional or critical political forces, defenders of human rights, proponents of liberation theology, and sectors of the population generally that are not in conformity with the status quo…”

The essay by Renán Vega Cantor in the final report of the Historic Commission on the causes and nature of the social and armed conflict in Colombia examines these aspects of the armed conflict and the direct participation of the United States in detail:

“According to the Special Group [established by President John F. Kennedy in 1962 to elaborate the US counter-insurgency doctrine], “the most pressing problem for our national security is the threat constituted by the existence of an insurgent movement inspired, supported and led by communists”; consequently, “our task is to elaborate an effective plan to combat this grave communist threat.” From that moment on the counter-insurgency doctrine emerged as a doctrine of total warfare, going beyond anti-guerrilla military actions to include psychological warfare, the training of local forces to confront native insurgent groups, the creation of paramilitary groups, the instigation of terrorist actions, the conduct of covert actions by the CIA and other US agencies and officials, increasing the sophistication of espionage activities and recruiting informants among local populations, encouraging in 1962 support to those trade unions and other organizations inclined to promote US leadership of the “free world”, carrying out civic-military actions to take the army out of the barracks and insert them in daily life, providing economic assistance in support of military objectives, preparing publications on counter-insurgency for local armies… In short, the doctrine called for providing “diplomatic, political, economic, psychological and military support to nations where the communists conduct indirect attacks.” Human rights are not mentioned in the elaboration of the new strategy, nor are the international norms and laws applying to armed conflicts between or within nations and the Geneva Conventions concerning the treatment of prisoners, all of which were considered to be “superfluous” by the Special Commission. Counter-insurgency was also referred to as special warfare which, in the words of the Secretary of Defense in 1962 Elvis Stahr, required the simultaneous utilization of “all of the military and paramilitary measures pertaining to unconventional warfare, counter-insurgency and psychological warfare.” Or, paraphrasing General Taylor Maxwell, one of the members of the Special Group, the ultimate objective of the strategy was that the natives combat the natives…

[From the 1980s, the] anti-narcotics fight was utilized in an opportunistic manner for the purpose of maintaining political order, given that the United States tolerated and fomented drug-trafficking networks when they suited their geopolitical interests and activities, guaranteeing the existence of a lucrative international narcotics economy. To this effect, between 1989 and 1993 the United States conducted operation Heavy Shadow, a joint operation coordinated by the US Embassy and involving the CIA, DEA, FBI, the National Security Agency and Special Forces with the objective of finding and killing Pablo Escobar. These foreign agencies and security and military apparatus entities operated jointly with the Colombian Army and Police, as well as with a paramilitary group linked to the Cali drug cartel (“los Pepes” – Perseguidos por Pablo Escobar). The government of the United States knew of the links between the armed forces and the narco-paramilitaries, and one of the latter, “Don Berna”, maintained a close relationship with the DEA, the agency charged with eliminating the drug trade…

As part of this military intervention, the regime of Álvaro Uribe Vélez “invited” the United States to lead the bombardments and to assume control over intelligence activities related to the armed conflict, an obvious mortgaging of Colombian sovereignty. Although officially the cost of these operations since 2000 was around $9 billion, a recent article in the Washington Post reveals that this is merely the tip of the iceberg. The financing provided by way of covert programs and secret sources of funding directed by the CIA with the participation of the National Security Agency lifts the scale of the total military assistance far above the scale suggested by the official data (as recommended by the report completed in 1959)…

Como parte de la intervención militar, el régimen de Álvaro Uribe Vélez «invita» a los Estados Unidos a dirigir los bombardeos y a que asuman el control de la inteligencia en la guerra, una clara hipoteca de la soberanía colombiana. Aunque oficialmente el costo de estas operaciones es de nueve mil millones de dólares desde el año 2000, un reciente artículo del Washington Post revela que esta es apenas la punta del iceberg, pues el financiamiento forma parte de programas encubiertos con fondos secretos muy superiores a las cifras oficiales, como los recomendados por el informe de 1959, dirigidos por la CIA, aunque con gran participación de la Agencia de Seguridad Nacional…

The regime of Álvaro Uribe Vélez achieved the greatest ever level of submission in terms of Colombia´s relations with the United States… US aircraft and marine vessels are permitted free access to Colombian airspace and territory; all activities associated with the accord are exempt from taxes and customs; all US personnel are granted absolute immunity from Colombian laws – even for crimes committed outside official duties; and the accord authorizes the United States to conduct any activities that it considers necessary or convenient in Colombia. According to a US Department of Defense document: “Palanquero [military base] guarantees the opportunity to conduct full spectrum operations throughout all of South America … a critical subregion in our hemisphere, where security and stability are under constant threat…”

Plan Colombia directly involved military personnel of the United States as well as mercenaries and other private companies in security activities to protect the investments of multinationals and conduct anti-narcotics operations, in accordance with the tendency of neoliberalism to sub-contract all State powers and functions. All such mercenaries also enjoy immunity from all Colombian laws according to the agreements signed between the two countries. The first group of mercenaries involved in the implementation of Plan Colombia arrived in 2000. Although the exact number of mercenaries active in Colombia at the service of the United States is not known, it is estimated that in 2004 there were approximately 600 though the actual number is likely to be more because such companies also contract personnel from other countries as well as from Colombia.

Among the tasks carried out by such mercenaries are the aerial dispersal of glyphosate, the transport of anti-narcotics personnel, supporting military operations, telecommunications management, intelligence and espionage, training Colombian military personnel in piloting, navigation, transport and logistics… The violence employed by the US mercenaries has been exacerbated by the impunity that covers their actions and by their colonial attitude of contempt for the lives and well-being of those involved in or affected by the conflict…

In spite of the widely documented denunciations of collusion between the Army and the Police and paramilitary groups throughout the 1990s the level of US military assistance continued to increase significantly, culminating in Plan Colombia whose weapons (which included thousands of Claymore anti-personnel mines) were utilized in numerous massacres of civilians. In this respect, it is time:

“to lift the smokescreen of official lies and identify the relationship between the military and the paramilitaries for what it is: a sophisticated mechanism sustained in part by years of military advisors, training, weapons and official silence on the part of the United States which has enabled the Colombian Armed Forces to wage a dirty war and the Colombian bureaucracy to deny its existence. The cost: many thousands of Colombians that have been killed, disappeared, wounded and terrorized…”

According to the Institute of Political Studies in the United States, “everything indicates that the support provided by the CIA and the Special Forces of the United States to the paramilitary groups was the tool that enabled them to consolidate their forces in a way that had not been possible before…

Furthermore, one must not forget the patronage of foreign companies, among them several founded or acquired by US financial capital, provided to paramilitary groups, and the responsibility that the owners and managers of these companies therefore have for the assassination of thousands of Colombian farmers and workers, one well documented example of which is the case of Chiquita Brands payments to paramilitary groups in Urabá…

The DAS (the national intelligence agency) was created in 1960 to replace the previous intelligence agency (the SIC), in accordance with the proposal of the military mission that visited Colombia in 1959 to convert the agency into an entity effectively under the control of the United States to conduct counter-insurgency operations… The measures adopted by the US to secure control over intelligence operations in Colombia extended to recruiting and infiltrating agents into all spheres of Colombian society, as revealed by a 1964 document sent from the Embassy of the United States and USAID to the Colombian President Guillermo León Valencia. Hundreds of declassified documents from the CIA, USAID and the US Embassy reveal that they followed the evolution of the DAS very closely, training its officials and providing equipment and technical assistance. In fact, from the 1960s the monthly reports of the CIA include a chapter evaluating the activities of the DAS.

During the administration of Úribe Veléz (2002-2010) the DAS organized a criminal scheme to assassinate government opponents and trade unionists, the result of an alliance between its Director, Jorge Noguera, and paramilitary groups. The entity compiled a list of 23 people identifying them as targets to be assassinated by the paramilitary group commanded by Rodrigo Tovar Pupo, alias ‘Jorge 40’, on the understanding that 50 million pesos would be paid for each death. Seven people on the list were subsequently assassinated, among them the social scientists Alfredo Correa de Andreis and Fernando Pisciotti van Stralen, and the journalist Zully Codina. The counter-insurgent logic motivating these assassinations is apparent in the language utilized by the DAS, which described the victims as belonging to the “social-labour front” of the “internal enemy”.

During the same period, the “chuzadas” became general practice, a euphemism referring to the illegal interception of the communications of political opponents, NGOs and members of the Supreme Court…

Some clues as to who is behind these criminal attacks against the Colombian people are provided by a former DAS agent, William Romero, trained by the CIA and implicated in the intimidation of and espionage against several members of the Supreme Court. He subsequently affirmed that his infiltration and espionage activities were organized by the US Embassy, to whom he reported periodically. The Embassy provided him with computers, equipment to intercept communications, cameras, money to rent safe houses and even to buy gasoline. A DAS unit assigned with the task of monitoring and persecuting trade unionists received thousands of dollars as well as equipment from the Embassy, all under the strict supervision of an official from the United States. It is therefore not surprising that in the course of the investigations into what took place the investigators discovered the existence of “a special intelligence group called GAME”:

“to which the best men of the DAS belonged and which had been created by officials at the US Embassy. These men reported their activities to the Embassy and received a monthly bonus pay of $300… 90% of the training that they received was paid for by the United States, the equipment that they used was made in the US, and other details include the fact that in 2004 the DAS intercepted the communications network run by Avantel, when the only equipment that existed in the country capable of conducting such intercepts belonged to the Embassy of the United States.”

Early in 2014 a new scandal erupted with the so-called Operation Andromeda, pursuant to which the Army spied on the negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC in Cuba – through false internet cafés – and even spied on the Head of State, demonstrating the extent to which the Army functions as a State within the State. In this respect, it was discovered that in the Centre of Military Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence (CIME) of the Colombian Armed Forces there is a “grey room” where illegal intercepts are carried out, producing information which can then be used to intimidate or even assassinate people. According to a military official that has worked in the unit, the CIA “supplied economic and technical support so that the room could operate. Everything, absolutely everything that happens there is known by them. They know all of the details as to what, who and why the espionage and intercepts are carried out against in the room. In practical terms, they are the real bosses of what happens there.”

These delicate facts, which were rapidly forgotten, are just a small sample of the corrupt and devious nature of relations between the United States and Colombia, as well as of the danger posed by the control that its intelligence services have over Colombian intelligence and security institutions. It is not a matter of the DAS deviating from its official functions with the passage of time to end up becoming involved in dubious and illegal activities; the agency was created as an instrument designed to carry out “open and disguised psychological warfare”, as disclosed by the report of the military mission from the United States in 1959. This “psychological war” against the people of Colombia is directly translated into terrorist operations and practices carried out by the State resulting in thousands of victims, activities that continue to the present day…”

Hernando Calvo Ospina provides more details on these aspects of the armed conflict:

“In practice, Plan Colombia merely legalized activities that several of these [private military contractor – PMC] companies were already undertaking. In effect, despite the flamboyant references to their immense importance and degree of preparation during the elaboration of Plan Colombia, the PMCs are not a novelty in this country. In 1987, under the approving gaze of the Government, large rural landowners and drug traffickers linked to the Medellín cartel secured the services of the Israeli security company Hod He`Hanitin (Spearhead Ltd) to train paramilitaries. The training programs were realized at installations and properties owned by Texas Petroleum Co. and were directed by ex-officials of the Israeli army and Mossad – such as lieutenant colonel Yair Klein – and former members of the British SAS.

These mercenaries taught ‘anti-subversive techniques’ that wold then be used to ‘clean’ the banana plantation and petroleum zones, eliminating people suspected of supporting the guerrillas. The skills taught were also used to perpetrate the assassination, between 1987 and 1992, of Jaime Pardo Leal and Bernardo Jaramillo (Union Patriótica), Carlos Pizarro (M-19) and Luis Carlos Galán (Liberal), all of whom were presidential candidates opposed to the Establishment.

According to a report by the special rapporteur of the United Nations presented to the Human Rights Commission in February 1990, more than 140 paramilitary groups were operating in Colombia at the time in close collaboration with the army and the national police. These militias attacked not only guerrilla sympathizers, but also workers, trade unionists and farmers, causing thousands of victims. The term ‘paramilitary’ was frequently utilized as a point of reference, employed in a euphemistic manner in order to hide the role of the army and the political forces promoting the campaign of extermination. By elaborating a ‘dirty war’ instead of conventional military operations by the armed forces, the paramilitary groups enabled them to refurbish their public image and to thereby aspire to obtaining increased assistance from the US, assistance that had been substantially reduced due to the persistent massive violations of human rights…

Contacts with these private companies are made through ‘somebody’ at the US embassy. No Colombian authority has the right to control them, their planes, their crews or their cargoes. Their employees enter the country with a tourist visa, but enjoy diplomatic protection. On the few occasions that Colombian authorities have had the temerity to protest, in fleeting moments of dignity, Washington threatened to suspend economic assistance…

The guerrillas were obstructing the transportation of petroleum, considering that this activity only benefited the multinationals and an extremely small number of Colombians. The first company that utilized mercenaries to protect its infrastructure was Texaco. In 1997 and 1998 the British company Defence Systems Ltd collaborated with the Colombian army, at the same time as it was training paramilitaries on behalf of British Petroleum, Total and Triton, resorting to the Israeli firm Silver Shadow to acquire arms.

On the 13th of December 1998 several helicopters bombarded some cabins in Santo Domingo, a small village located near the Venezuelan border. According to the army a guerrilla column was located there. In reality, the 18 victims were farmers. The objective had been located and fixed by mercenaries that worked for Occidental Petroleum, on whose property part of the operation was prepared.

It was also where the planes of Florida Air Scan carrying the three US citizens [responsible for directing the bombardment], among them an active military officer, departed. Since then nothing is known of what happened to them, and the government of the United States has refused to return them to face justice in Colombia.

In September 2003 Bogotá agreed to sign an accord with Washington, pursuant to which the Colombian government agreed not to send US citizens that had committed crimes against humanity to the International Criminal Court, unless the United States authorized it…”

‘Foreign investors’ are some of the primary beneficiaries of the turmoil created by the armed conflict, making enormous profits and in many cases taking advantage of the weakness of State institutions to violate legal and financial requirements to further augment their profits at the expense of the people of Colombia. Each sector and company has its distinct characteristics. As noted in the quotes cited above, several companies in the mining and energy sector have had close direct and indirect ties with paramilitary groups for at least 25 years. Many companies in the agribusiness sector have also had a significant role in the armed conflict. For example, a subsidiary of Chiquita Brands, a descendant of United Fruit Company, paid ‘protection money’ to the guerrillas for several years in zones where they had extensive banana plantations. When the paramilitaries took over the regions following a brutal military campaign that devastated the local communities and forced many of them to abandon their land and homes, Chiquita Brands began to pay the paramilitary groups. They are also reported as transporting at least several thousand assault rifles through their facilities for the paramilitary groups. In 2011 CBS News reported that:

“It wasn’t just money that Chiquita provided the AUC, according to court documents. In 2001, Chiquita was identified in invoices and other documents as the recipient of a shipment from Nicaragua of 3,000 AK-47 assault rifles and 5 million rounds of ammunition. The shipment was actually intended for the AUC.

The guns and ammo were unloaded by Chiquita employees, stored at Chiquita warehouses, and then delivered by trucks to the AUC, court papers said. They also claim there were at least four similar shipments, prompting AUC leader Castaño to boast about the deals in a Colombian newspaper…” (CBS, Associated Press, 2011)

In the food and beverages sector, the trade unions of workers employed by Coca Cola and Nestlé have been subject to a brutal campaign of persecution and assassinations by paramilitaries attempting to exterminate the trade union for over 30 years, with a substantial amount of evidence suggesting the campaign has been elaborated and carried out with the complicity of the companies and coordinated by Colombian security officials, acting in close cooperation with officials at the US Embassy. (SINALTRAINAL, 2015)


The possible involvement of the United States in the implementation of some of the most sensitive security and intelligence components of the Final Accord is a cause for grave concern for all the individuals and groups that have been treated as military targets pursuant to counterinsurgency doctrines and the associated campaign of State terror during the armed conflict. As the final report of the Historic Commission states: “It is imperative that the participation of the United States in the management of security agencies, as occurred with the DAS, cease.” If the US is genuinely interested in making a positive contribution to the peace process, its first actions must be implementing the recommendations made in the final report of the Historic Commission, including:

“In order to build our knowledge, reconstruct our history and search for the truth concerning the role and responsibility of the United States in the armed conflict in Colombia and its multiple relations and links with the Colombian State, its Armed Forces, security agencies and private companies, it is imperative that all documents pertaining to Colombia that are stored in US archives be declassified…

In order to contribute to justice for the victims, the government of the United States must facilitate the establishment of norms and procedures so that citizens of that country involved in grave crimes against the people of Colombia, in particular assassinations, disappearances and sexual assaults, are held to account for their crimes before independent tribunals, and put an end to the impunity that protects those responsible for committing such crimes in Colombia. Moreover, the privileges and immunity that military personnel from the United States and mercenaries at their service enjoy must be ended…

The government of the United States must unequivocally accept and acknowledge its responsibility to the victims of its direct and indirect participation in our conflict, in the same way that the guerrillas of the FARC have accepted their share of responsibility and the Colombian State must do… Specifically, the government of the United States must offer an unequivocal and unconditional apology, as well as reparations for the victims and a guarantee of non-repetition of this pernicious interference in the future…

There must be a thorough investigation of and public audience concerning the activities of USAID in Colombia which, operating within a matrix that is primordially counter-insurgent and belligerent since its foundation, has been implicated in supporting activities and institutions that have promoted violations of human rights on a massive scale, such as the DAS and civic-military programs…”


CBS News, 2011, “Chiquita accused of funding Colombian terrorists”, 31 May 2011, CBS News, Associated Press

Hernando Calvo Ospina, 2004, “Colombia: Like in Iraq, a privatized conflict”, Prensa Rural (Hernando Calvo Ospina Colombia: Como en Iraq, un conflicto privatizado)

José Honorio Martinez, 2016, “La vigencia del paramilitarismo, las fisuras en el bloque de poder y la paz”, Prensa Rural, Tuesday, 5 April 2016, http://prensarural.org/spip/spip.php?article19053

Renán Vega Cantor, 2015, “The International Dimension of the Social and Armed Conflict in Colombia: Interference of the United States, Counter-Insurgency and State Terrorism”, in Historical Commission of the Conflict and its Victims, Havana, 2015

SINALTRAINAL, 2015, Luciano Lives, SINALTRAINAL, Bogotá

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