Cablegate: Goc Hard Line On Demobilization Makes

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

id: 14483
date: 3/2/2004 22:05
refid: 04BOGOTA2198
origin: Embassy Bogota
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 002198


E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/03/2014

Classified By: Ambassador William B. Wood for reasons 1.5 (b)
and (d).


1. (C) The United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia's (AUC)
Centauros Bloc -- which is heavily invested in drug
trafficking and involved in a struggle with a rival
paramilitary bloc over control of territory and narcotics
interests -- publicly announced it will not demobilize
without firm GOC security guarantees for its area of
operations and alternatives to jail time for its leaders.
Representatives of the Peace Commissioner's Office will meet
with the Bloc in early March to issue an ultimatum: join the
demobilization process in good faith or drop out completely
and face the full force of the security forces. The
Centauros Bloc's announcement underscores the AUC's tenuous
unity and the paramilitaries' concern with the GOC's stance
that they must obey the terms of demobilization, including
troop concentration and legal accountability. End Summary.

Public Dissension From the Centauros Bloc

2. (C) On February 27, a senior commander of the paramilitary
Centauros Bloc, an affiliate of the United Self-Defense
Forces of Colombia (AUC), publicly announced the bloc's
unwillingness to demobilize until the GOC provides security
guarantees in their area of operations and alternatives to
jail time for the bloc's leaders. Until its recent
announcement, the Centauros Bloc, although guilty of scores
of blatant cease-fire violations, towed the AUC line and
publicly supported the demobilization process initiated by
the Santa Fe de Ralito accord, which it signed. The Bloc's
decision to publicly condition any demobilization, apparently
without authorization from its nominal AUC superiors,
underscores the AUC's tenuous unity.

3. (C) Over the past few months, the Centauros Bloc has
clashed repeatedly with the independent Self-Defense Forces
of Casanare (ACC), which is not participating in
demobilization negotiations. Both groups operate on
Colombia's northeastern plains, where they struggle over key
drug cultivation and trafficking routes. Centauros Bloc
commander Miguel Arroyave's reticence to accept
demobilization wholeheartedly reflects both his aversion to
ceding narcotrafficking influence to his ACC rivals and his
concerns about potential criminal cases against him, both in
Colombia and the United States. (Note: We have not asked for
Arroyave's extradition. End note.)

4. (C) Carlos Franco, director of the GOC's human rights
office and a member of its exploratory commission on
demobilization, told the Embassy that the GOC is frustrated
by dissension both within the AUC and between it and other
paramilitary organizations. On March 4 or 5, the exploratory
commission plans to meet with the Centauros Bloc's leaders to
issue an ultimatum: join the demobilization process in good
faith or drop out completely and face the full force of the
security forces. The GOC can hold up as an example the fate
of the late Metro Bloc, which publicly declared its
opposition to the peace process and was eventually destroyed
by separate offensives from rival paramilitary groups and, to
a lesser extent, the security forces. The GOC recently
issued a similar ultimatum to the ACC, and has also pressured
the Middle Magdalena and Elmer Cardenas Blocs.


5. (C) The Centauros Bloc's recent announcements, as well as
the GOC's firm response -- backed up with the threat of
increased military pressure -- demonstrates that the peace
process has not been a sweetheart deal.

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

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