Paramilitaries Remain Key Arm of Colombian Govt.
Acevedo: Paramilitaries Continue to Be a Key Arm of the Colombian Government
November 15, 2005
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The Colombian Army, the number-one recipient of U.S. military aid outside of the Middle East, continues to wage a dirty war in its own countryside. Ramón Acevedo reports from the northeast Colombian department of Antioquia that Colombian soldiers continue to work together with paramilitary death squads (supposedly illegal and pursued by the government) in a counterinsurgency campaign that is actually being waged against innocent rural farmers. Other deceitful tactics are also often employed:
"On August 7th, 2005," writes Acevedo, "the... Calibio Battalion assassinated a known community leader, Luis Sigifredo Castaño. A member of the community remembers him, 'He was a kind man. We had known him for over 15 years. He was part of CAHUCOPANA, a new campesino (peasant farmer) human rights organization. Sigifredo was not an insurgent as the military accused.' Denouncements made by a local campesino association, the ACVC, stated that, '[Sigifredo] was found dressed in camouflage, even though everyone in the region knew he was a campesino and was disabled.'
"The Colombian military continuously uses the tactic of killing campesinos, dressing them in camouflage, and denouncing them as insurgency. A member of Sigifredos family stated, 'The Calibio Battalion came to the house at six in the morning, they grabbed him, tied him up and demanded to know where the guerrilla camps were. But he knew nothing of the sort. He was in shorts, a t-shirt, and some rubber boots when they took him. At 8 in the morning, about 100 meters from the house we heard machine gun fire. When the military left at 4pm we saw them taking his dead body dressed in camouflage.' Members of the Battalion Calibio have been confirmed by various campesino sources to work with and actually operate as paramilitaries."
Acevedo, a 2003 graduate of the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism, accompanies his report with his own moving photographs from the region. Read the full story, in The Narco News Bulletin:
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