Colombia: Senate Suffers More Parapolitical Perplexity

https://i1.wp.com/i113.photobucket.com/albums/n216/cbrayton/riskparas.png
Risk to upcoming elections, by municipality, presented by the presence of new groups, emergent gangs, remnants of demoblized paramilitaries, and “structures in formation.” See Infographic of the Week: Colombia’s Elections Observer Mission. Santander, is, if I am reading my map right, a red zone.

The more than 60 hours of recordings show how Ana María Flórez, director of the Fiscalía office in the province, leaked information to the AUC through her secretary, Magali Moreno.

Organized crime groups have taken over functions of the state by providing protection, security, and insurance, coupled with extortion, racketeering, and money laundering. Twenty-five thousand private security firms employing 800,000 people have privatized contract fulfillment by their own methods.  [One] criminal group, by means of violence, threats, and extortion, extracts a tribute from 30 percent of [capital city] businesses. The press is flooded with reports of contract killings, usually reported as … mafia settling of accounts. In fact, these are not only punishment for undelivered services or unpaid debts, but also part of endless turf wars or cases of revenge for refusal to pay tribute.

Colombia?

Rio de Janeiro?

Mexico?

Russia.

The source is “Fragmentation of Authority and Privatization of the State: From Gorbachev to Yeltsin,” by Vladimir Brovkin of the United Research Centers on Organized Crime in Eurasia at the Center for the Study of Transnational Crime and Corruption, American University.

Ricardo Elcure, el reemplazo de Mario Uribe, enredado con grabación de diálogo con paramilitar: “Elcure, Mario Uribe’s replacement, is caught on a recording talking with a paramilitary leader.” EL TIEMPO (Bogotá) reports.

You can listen to the tapes, but no transcript yet. Quite a conversation. What impressed me most was the discussion of lining up media support behind the candidates selected by this latest incarnation of those fun-loving, drug-running, hooker-pimping, massacre-committing “moral equivalents of the Founding Fathers.”

President Uribe’s cousin, Mario Uribe Escobar, resigns from the Senate. He is investigated over allegations that he practiced “parapolitics” — “vote for me or my friends here will blow your brains out.”

Uribe goes ape. See

Conocido en Norte de Santander como ‘El Chico’ es conocido como el senador con la menor votación de la historia reciente de esta corporación: 4.017 votos.

Known in Norte de Santander province as “El Chico,” he is famous for being the Senator with the fewest votes in the recent history of that body: 4,017 votes.

El pasado martes, el desmovilizado jefe ‘para’ de los llamados bloques Catatumbo y Fronteras, Iván Laverde, alias ‘El Iguano’ o ‘Pedro Fronteras’, le aseguró a la Fiscalía que en el 2003 le entregó 80 millones de pesos a Elcure para ayudar a financiar su campaña a la gobernación de Norte de Santander.

Last Tuesday, the demobilized paramilitary leader of the so-called Catatumbo and Fronteras Blocs, Iván Laverde … told the Fiscalía that in 2003 he handed over 80 million pesos to Elcure to help finance his campaign for the governship of the province.

Some 5,000 corpses are credited to the Fronteras group, described as followed by the Fundación Progresar:

El ‘bloque Fronteras’ tenía la misión de controlar las economías ilícitas en su área de influencia (prostitución, venta de droga) y la comercialización y envío de la cocaína proveniente de las zonas de cultivos ilícitos que protegía el ‘bloque Catatumbo’, que trabajaba más en la zona rural.

The Fronteras bloc had the mission of controlling the underground economy in its area of influence (prostitution, drug sales) and the marketing and shipment of cocaine from the areas of cultivation protected by the Catatumbo bloc, which operated more in the rural zone.

Resume coverage.

Las grabaciones que lo involucran

The recordings that implicate him

El hecho no hubiera pasado de ser una de las tantas menciones aisladas que hacen los ex ‘paras’, de no ser por la existencia de unas grabaciones -obtenidas por la Dijín y por la Fiscalía, en el 2003- en las que alias ‘Pacho’ ‘para’ de esos mismos bloques, habla de darle apoyo a Elcure en su carrera a la gobernación, que perdió por más de 80 mil votos con Luis Miguel Morelli.

The incident might not have wound up as anything more than another of the many isolated charges that former “paras” make were it not for the existence of recordings obtains by DIJIN and the Fiscalía in 2003 in which “Pacho,” a paramilitary from those same blocs, talkes of supporting Elcure in his gubernatorial aspirations. Elcure lost to Morelli by more than 80,000 votes.

En su momento, el análisis de las cintas (reveladas por EL TIEMPO) se centró en lo que hablaban en torno al asesinato de un agente del CTI y en la complicidad de dos funcionarias de la Fiscalía de Norte de Santander con el paramilitarismo.

At the time, analysis of the tapes (made public by EL TIEMPO) focused on what they said about the assassination of a CTI agent and the complicity of two Fiscalía officials in the province with paramilitarism. 

Las más de 60 horas de grabaciones mostraron cómo Ana María Flórez, directora de la seccional, filtraba información a las Auc a través de su secretaria Magali Moreno.

The more than 60 hours of recordings show how Ana María Flórez, director of the Fiscalía office in the province, leaked information to the AUC through her secretary, Magali Moreno. 

Moreno fue condenada a 60 meses de cárcel y Flórez huye de la justicia: al parecer se encuentra en Canadá. Y el policía, responsable de la incautación del teléfono interceptado, fue asesinado en Cúcuta.

Moreno was sentenced to 60 months in prison, and Flórez is a fugitive from justice, and apparently is to be found in Canada. The policeman who conducted the wiretap was assassinated in Cúcuta.

‘Es un montaje’: Elcure

“It is a frame-up”: Elcure

Los apartes de las grabaciones en las que se menciona a Elcure reposan en el expediente 1.695 de la Unidad de Derechos Humanos de la Fiscalía y en los próximos días serán solicitadas por la Corte Suprema, en donde las declaraciones de ‘El Iguano’ resonaron.

The passages from the recordings that mention Elcure are part of Case No. 1,695 of the Fiscalía’s human rights division, and in the next few days will be requested by the Supreme Court, to whom the para leader’s statements were made.

Elcure admite que conoce las cintas, pero dice que hacen parte de un montaje. Por eso pedirá que la Corte Suprema lo escuche en versión libre: “¿Por qué este señor no dijo todo eso hace tres meses cuando, bajo la gravedad del juramento, contó lo que dice saber de Norte de Santander? ¿Por qué esperó hasta ahora cuando yo me posesioné como senador? ¿Será que alguien le ordenó decir eso para que de mentira en mentira vayan construyendo una prueba falsa?”, se preguntó.

Elcure admits knowing of the tapes, but says they are part of a frame-up. For that reason, he will petition the Supreme Court to hear his testimony. “Why did this gentleman not say all this three months ago, when, under oath, he told what he knew about Norte de Santander? Why did he way until now, when I have been sworn in as Senator? Did no someone maybe order him to say this in order to pile a lie upon a lie to create false evidence,” he asked.

The speculative rhetorical question is one indicator commonly associated with what we call the “banana-republic guilty plea” (BRGP).

It is not definitive by any means, of course, but the best practice in crisis communications in a case like this is to categorically deny the fact imputed, in detail.

Naturally, attacking the credibility of the witness is a sensible defense strategy. But the man is not just up against the witness. He is up against the recordings as well, EL TIEMPO argues.

He will, I predict, argue at some point that those have been doctored. Kind of like Pedro Calmon in the “sex Senator” case here in Brazil. Just idle speculation, mind you.

Y agregó que jamás recibió un centavo de los ‘paras’: “Que me digan con quién mandaron la plata”.

He added that he never received a cent from the “paras.” “Let them say who they sent the money with.” 

“Que me muestren si existe alguna grabación donde yo hable con esa gente para pedir apoyos o algo por el estilo, y que me expliquen entonces por qué no gané las elecciones”, dijo el senador Elcure.

“Let them show me if there is any recording in which I talk to these people to ask for support or something like that, and let them explain why I did not win the election,” said Senator Elcure. 

Arguments from mere plausibility are not very confidence-inspiring, either.

“It is implausible that I could have cheated and not won.”

That is a bit like Barry Bonds saying, “If had really taken steroids, I would have won a World Series by now.”

If I were the man’s flack, I would be dragging out my campaign finances and making this a pure beancounting issue.  You do have airtight, audited campaign finance books, do you not?

Aunque dijo que no renunciará a la curul, si tuviera que hacerlo, esta quedaría en manos de Cristóbal Córdoba, ex contratista del Gobierno, que tan solo sacó 3.750 votos.

Although he said he would not resign his office, if he had to do so, the seat would go to Cristóbal Córdoba, a former government contractor, who received only 3,750 votes.

Según la ley, Elcure debía ocupar la curul obtenida por Mario Uribe Escobar (con 66.407 votos), quien decidió renunciar a su investidura para defenderse en la Fiscalía de los señalamientos de ex paramilitares, que lo vinculan con esa organización y que ya le habían valido un llamado a indagatoria de la Corte Suprema.

Under the law, Elcure inherits the seat won by Mario Uribe Escobar (66,407 votes), who resigned in order to defend himself against charges by ex-paramilitaries, who link him to that organization and whose testimony has been accepted as the basis for a summons by the Supreme Court.

El día de su posesión, Elcure lamentó llegar al Congreso de esta manera y agregó que su partido político (Colombia Democrática) confiaba en que “la justicia divina y la terrenal serán testigos de que el senador Uribe saldrá impune de todo cargo”.

On the day he was sworn in, Elcure lamented being elected to Congress in this way and added that his political party (Democratic Colombia) was confident that “divine and earthly justice will bear witness that Senator Uribe will be found innocent of all charges.”

¿Cuotas ‘para’ en y Gobernación?

“Para” quotes for the governor’s office?

El ex secretario de educación de Santander Bonel Patiño Noreña acaba de ratificarle a la Corte Suprema, que fue una de las cuotas del ‘para’ ‘Ernesto Báez’ en la administración de Hugo Aguilar.

Former provincial education secretary Bonel Patiño Noreña has just testified to the Supreme Court that he was one of the “quota” appointments of the paramilitary leader known as “Ernesto Báez” during the Aguilar administration. 

Bajo juramento, manifestó que para justificar su ingreso al gabinete le sugirieron decir que conoció a Aguilar en Risaralda, cuando el Gobernador -que lo niega todo- era policía.

Under oath, he said that in order to justify his appointment to the provincial cabinet, they suggested he say he met Aguilar in Risaralda, when the Governor — who denies all of this — was a policeman. 

La autoridades también verifican si una mujer cercana al señalado ‘para’ Saúl Severini y un hijo de Neila Soto, ‘Sonia’, ‘para’ del Pivijay (Cesar), fueron asistentes en el Congreso de dos de los congresistas de la parapolítica.

Authorities are also checking whether a woman close to known “para” Saúl Severini and a son of Neila “Sonia” Soto, a “para” from Pivijay (Cesar province) served as aides to two of the congressmembes accused of parapolitics.

Se indaga, además, la presencia de la hermana de ‘Ernesto Báez’ en otra Unidad de Trabajo Legislativo (UTL) del Senado, revelada por EL TIEMPO. El temor es que algunos documentos hayan desaparecido.

They are also looking into whether the sister of “Ernesto Báez” worked in another Legislative Work Unit (UTL) of the Senate, as EL TIEMPO reported. The fear is that some documents may have disappeared.

Báez, a business partner of the narco Don Berna, the man who rubbed out Castaño.

Castaño, who had an NGO that engaged in citizen journalism.

All hail the Second Superpower.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s