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Cablegate: Caramagna Troubled by Restrepo's Growing Distrust of the Mapp/Oas

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #7911/01 2411844
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 291844Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8350
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 7066
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 8120
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ AUG LIMA 4179
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA 9462
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 4841
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 3658
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHOND/DIRONDCP WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 007911

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/29/2016
TAGS: KJUS PGOV PINR PREL PTER CO
SUBJECT: CARAMAGNA TROUBLED BY RESTREPO'S GROWING DISTRUST OF THE MAPP/OAS


Classified By: Ambassador William B. Wood.
Reasons: 1.4 (b) and (d)

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SUMMARY
-------

1. (C) Sergio Caramagna, Director of the Mission to Support
the Peace Process in Colombia (MAPP/OAS), told the Ambassador
24 August he was worried his public spat with Peace
Commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo over the inclusion on the
demobilized list of Juan Carlos Sierra, widely regarded as a
narcotrafficker, would undermine OAS Secretary General
Insulza's confidence in him. Representatives of countries
supporting the OAS Mission told Caramagna in a separate
meeting Sierra's inclusion in the demobilized list was
troubling. End summary.

----------------------------------------
MAPP/OAS PRESS STATEMENT SPARKED DISPUTE
----------------------------------------

2. (C) Caramagna told the Ambassador on 24 August that he
was perplexed with Restrepo's reaction to the Mission's press
release two days earlier. The press release stated the
Mission had no prior knowledge of the demobilization of Juan
Carlos Sierra, identified in press reports as a drug
trafficker and not an AUC member. Caramagna said his
intention was not to embarrass the GOC, but rather to
publicly support President Uribe's decision to get tough with
paramilitary leaders.

3. (C) Caramagna said Restrepo seemed not to have read the
three-paragraph press release, but instead reacted to the
media's interpretation of it. Several press agencies said
Caramagna questioned the designation of Sierra as a leader of
the AUC. Restrepo's four-page rebuttal to the OAS release
said Caramagna should have raised the Sierra issue with the
GOC and not gone public.

4. (C) Caramagna noted the government could have demobilized
Sierra, but the Mission was not informed and could not
validate his demobilization. Moreover, he said the Mission
was being pressured from the press and Ambassadors from
neighboring counties to come out publicly with an opinion
about Sierra. Even the Colombian Ambassador to the OAS in
Washington had asked the Mission for a statement. He said
relations with the Peace Commissioner had progressively
worsened since the Mission began its more critical
verification role. Caramagna said he had tried to contact
Restrepo several times in recent weeks, but Restrepo did not
return his calls.

----------------------------------------
RESTREPO'S ANGRY PHONE CALL TO CARAMAGNA
----------------------------------------

5. (C) Caramagna said Restrepo had called him the day after
the Mission's press release. He said Restrepo had questioned
the Mission's role and accused him of converting it to serve
his own interests. Restrepo said he felt Caramagna was
undermining his office. Caramagna noted the Mission's
consistent support for the para process, and said Restrepo
was having a difficult time distinguishing between friend and
foe.

6. (C) The Ambassador reiterated his support and respect for
the Mission. He cautioned Caramagna that Restrepo was under
significant pressure. Caramagna recognized that Restrepo
faced constant criticism and said he considers him to be one
of the most honest, hardworking, and intelligent GOC
officials. Still, Caramagna was worried about
OAS-Washington's reaction to the episode. Caramanga fears
that OAS-Washington does not support him and apparently
worries that the current spat will further undermine his
position at the OAS.

7. (C) Caramagna concluded by noting that the current phase
of the peace process is more complicated than the earlier
stages. In the past two weeks, the GOC has had to deal with
the confinement of paramilitary leaders, allegations that it
was making deals with narcotraffickers, lobbying on the
Justice and Peace Law implementing decree, the Prosecutor
General's Office public questioning of the military's
operation in 1985 to regain control of the Palace of Justice
from the M-19, and accusations that paramilitary leader
Vicente Castano killed his brother Carlos Castano.

-----------------------------------------
MAPP/OAS GROUP OF FRIENDS MEETING OUTCOME
-----------------------------------------

8. (C) Caramagna met with the MAPP/OAS Group of Friends
after the meeting with the Ambassador to explain the press
statements and reconfirm their support for the Mission.
Representatives from Brazil, Mexico, Norway, Spain, Sweden
and the U.S. attended. The Mexican and Swedish
representatives said Restrepo's reaction was
counterproductive to the peace process and could hamper
relationships with the international community. Brazil,
Norway, and Spain were particularly concerned with the
government's decision to include Sierra as a paramilitary
member after the GOC had previously denied his petition
because of his narcotrafficking history.

9. (C) Caramagna told the representatives he did not see
Sierra participate in any of the meetings held between the
GOC and AUC representatives in Ralito. MAPP/OAS officials
had seen him occasionally in the "halls" of Ralito. Sierra
had contacted the Mission in February and expressed his
desire to demobilize. Caramagna explained that when the
Mission receives these types of requests in the field, they
forward them to the Peace Commissioner's Office. Restrepo's
response in February was that the GOC did not recognize
Sierra as a paramilitary member.

10. (C) The representatives from Norway and Sweden voiced
concern that the GOC demobilized Sierra without warning the
Mission or involving other GOC entities. Caramagna noted
none of his contacts from other GOC entities that were
usually involved in demobilizations were aware of the
demobilization of Sierra. Caramagna explained that Restrepo
had the authority to demobilize and include any individual on
the government's lists for eligibility for processing under
Peace and Justice Law without anyone's approval. (On August
16, the GOC turned over a list of 2,695 former paramilitaries
that have asked to participate in Justice and Peace Law to
the Fiscalia.)

11. (C) A MAPP/OAS official said the Peace Commissioner's
Office had eight more demobilized paramilitaries on its list
than the Mission's database indicated existed. The extra
eight include Guillermo Perez Alzate (AKA "Pablo Sevillano"),
who turned himself in on August 17 and is currently confined
in La Ceja, Antioquia Department.

12. (C) Comment. Subsequent conversations with both
Caramagna and Restrepo indicate that they are stepping back
from public disagreement.
WOOD

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