Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Search

 

Cablegate: Paraguay: Kidnappings and the Farc

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

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ASUNCION 000815

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/BSC
NSC FOR KIM BREIER
SOUTHCOM FOR POLAD DAN JOHNSON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/23/2015
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR PTER KCRM CO BR PA
SUBJECT: PARAGUAY: KIDNAPPINGS AND THE FARC

REF: A. ASUNCION 668
B. ASUNCION 589
C. ASUNCION 246 AND PRECEDING

Classified By: Polcouns James P. Merz for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary. An individual arrested in connection to
the Ceclia Cubas kidnapping led investigators to the site
where Maria Edith Bordon de Debernardi was held after she was
kidnapped in November 2001. A Paraguayan prosecutor confirmed
press reports clearly linking the two kidnappings. He also
indicated there was evidence of possible Colombian/FARC
involvement in the earlier kidnapping as well as in the Cubas
kidnapping. End Summary.

2. (C) According to Arnoldo Guizzio, the lead prosecutor
on the Cecilia Cubas kidnapping, an individual arrested and
detained in connection to the Cubas kidnapping is providing
investigators with key information. This unnamed informant
provided investigators with the name of Mencia, who upon
arrest in the Department of Caaguazu, was found reportedly in
possession of a vehicle used in connection with the Cubas
kidnapping. On June 18, as part of plea bargain with
prosecutors Mencia seeks to exempt him from charges, Mencia
led investigators to the house located in a residential
neighborhood on the outskirts of Asuncion where Maria Edith
Bordon de Debernardi was held for over two months after she
was kidnapped in November 2001. Debernardi, who was
eventually released upon payment of a ransom, confirmed that
she had been held captive in a manmade tunnel underneath the
house.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

Links between Kidnappings, Possible ties to Colombians
--------------------------------------------- ---------

3. (C) A number of details linking the two kidnappings
suggest Colombian/FARC involvement:

-- Mencia testified that he rented the house where Debernardi
was held at the request of Osmar Martinez, the Patria Libre
Party (PPL) member arrested and detained on charges of
orchestrating the Cubas kidnapping. Martinez has since been
charged with involvement in the Debernardi kidnapping as
well.

-- Mencia testified that on November 16, 2001, the night
Debernardi was kidnapped, he saw in the house where she was
held Juan Arrom and Anuncio Marti (PPL leaders living in
Brazil as political refugees); Severiano Martinez (alias
"Marcos") and Francisca Andino, PPL Secretary General, (both
already charged in connection to the Cubas kidnapping and now
charged for involvement in the Bordon kidnapping; the former
is a fugitive and the latter has been arrested); Alcidos
Oviedo Britez (alias "Cesar," recently sentenced to 18 years
in jail for involvement in the Debernardi kidnapping); and
Gilberto Setrini (remains a fugitive). All have been
identified as PPL activists.

-- Mencia identified Oscar Luis Benitez (alias "Ramon") as
one of the intellectual leaders of the Debernardi kidnapping.
Benitez remains a fugitive.

-- Mencia revealed the aliases of a number of individuals
implicated in the Cubas kidnapping.

-- According to Mencia, a "foreigner" constructed in February
and March 2001 the tunnel in which Debernardi was eventually
held captive. Mencia said he never saw this individual in
person and did not explain why he thought the individual was
a foreigner. Guizzio indicated investigators believe the
individual could have been Colombian with FARC ties.

-- Separately, neighbors have told investigators that several
Colombians lived down the street from the house where
Debernardi was held at around the same time. Investigators
have requested the Migration Department review its records on
Colombians who entered Paraguay around that time. The
Migration Department is notorious for its bad records.
Paraguay requires no visa for entry of Colombians. Guizzio
indicated prosecutors were not hopeful the Migration
Department would uncover helpful information.

-- Guizzio informed PolCouns that individuals tied to the
Bordon kidnapping later appeared in training video for the
Cubas kidnapping.

Duarte on Suspects in Brazil
----------------------------

4. (U) In response to queries by the press, President
Duarte said that he had not/not raised with President Lula
during the Mercosur Summit Paraguay's outstanding request
that Brazil return PPL leaders Arrom and Marti to Paraguay to
stand trial on charges for involvement in the Debernardi
kidnapping. (Note: Brazil granted Arrom and Marti refugee
status when they escaped from Paraguay and entered Brazil
claiming they had been beaten by police and suffered the
threat of political persecution if returned to Paraguay. End
Note.) However, Duarte said that he had raised this matter
with Lula on prior occasions and hoped Lula would intervene
to ensure these individuals face justice in Paraguay.

5. (C) Comment. Mencia's testimony confirms links between
the Cubas and Debernardi kidnappings; both involved suspects
with confirmed or reported links to the FARC, and the new
evidence suggests, but does not prove, FARC involvement in
the Debernardi kidnapping itself. Prosecutors are hopeful
Mencia will provide more information about the two
kidnappings, including more names of individuals involved and
information about arms caches. End Comment.

KEANE

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
 
 
 
World Headlines

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.