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Cablegate: Colombia: 1988 Annual Terrorism Report

R 080007Z DEC 88
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1694
INFO DIA WASHDC
DEA WASHDC
CIA WASHDC
SECDEF WASHDC
USCINCSO QUARRY HEIGHTS PM
AMEMBASSY CARACAS
AMEMBASSY QUITO
AMEMBASSY LIMA
AMEMBASSY LA PAZ

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BOGOTA 18301

STATE FOR S/CT WHARTON

E.O. 12356: N/A
TAGS: KPRP PTER CO
SUBJECT: COLOMBIA: 1988 ANNUAL TERRORISM REPORT

REF: A) STATE 357278, B) BOGOTA 5976

1. COLOMBIA HAS A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT WHOSE
INSTITUTIONS ARE UNDER ATTACK BY FOUR MAJOR SUBNATIONAL
GUERRILLA GROUPS AND BY NARCOTICS TRAFFICKERS. FAR FROM
BEING A SUPPORTER OF TERRORISM, COLOMBIA IS THE VICTIM
OF SUSTAINED TERRORIST ATTACKS. THE COUNTRY'S
INSTITUTIONS ARE THREATENED THROUGH FREQUENT ATTACKS BY
INSURGENTS ON RELATIVELY SMALL RURAL TOWNS AND POLICE
STATIONS. IN 1988 THERE HAS BEEN A MARKED TREND TOWARDS
LARGER-SCALE ATTACKS BY COMBINED GUERRILLA GROUPS
AGAINST HARDER MILITARY TARGETS. ATTACKS AGAINST
ECONOMIC TARGETS, PARTICULARLY THE COUNTRY'S NATIONAL
OIL PIPELINE, HAVE INCREASED OVER THE LAST YEAR.

2. INSURGENT VIOLENCE CAN BE CONSIDERED INTERNATIONAL
ONLY TO THE EXTENT THAT ONE GROUP'S ACTIVITIES HAVE AT
TIMES CROSSED COLOMBIA'S BORDER INTO VENEZUELA, WHERE
KIDNAPPING AND EXTORTION SCHEMES WERE CARRIED OUT, AND
TO THE EXTENT THAT THE GROUPS' RECEIVE INTERNATIONAL
SUPPORT.

3. ANOTHER SOURCE OF TERRORIST VIOLENCE EMANATES FROM
THE NARCOTICS TRAFFICKER ORGANIZATIONS. WHILE NOT
ESSENTIALLY POLITICALLY MOTIVATED, NARCOTICS TRAFFICKER
INSTIGATED VIOLENCE HAS A POLITICAL EFFECT IN THAT MANY
SUCH ACTIONS ARE SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED TO INTIMIDATE
GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND INSTITUTIONS IN AN ATTEMPT TO
ASSURE THEIR OWN FREEDOM TO PURSUE THE NARCOTICS TRADE
AND ENJOY THE BENEFITS THEREOF. NARCOTICS-RELATED
TERRORISM DOES HAVE AN INTERNATIONAL CHARACTER SINCE THE
TRAFFICKERS USE VIOLENCE TO EXTEND THEIR NARCOTICS
NETWORKS BEYOND COLOMBIA, INCLUDING INTO THE UNITED
STATES.

4. NARCOTICS TERRORISM DIRECTED AT THE COLOMBIAN
JUDICIARY IN 1988 ACCOMPLISHED ITS GOAL OF MAKING THE
PROSECUTION OR EXTRADITION OF MAJOR NARCOTICS
TRAFFICKERS TOO DANGEROUS FOR MOST OFFICIALS. PRESIDENT
BARCO RELEASED A STATEMENT IN SEPTEMBER STATING THAT THE
BILATERAL EXTRADITION TREATY WAS A PRINCIPAL VICTIM OF
NARCO TERRORISM DIRECTED AGAINST THE SUPREME COURT AND
THE COUNCIL OF STATE. A MAJOR TRAFFICKER, JORGE LUIS
OCHOA, WAS RELEASED FROM PRISON ON THE LAST DAY OF 1987
WHILE THE GOVERNMENT WAS ATTEMPTING TO FIND A WAY TO
EXTRADITE HIM. MOST OBSERVERS BELIEVE THREATS AND
BRIBES WERE RESPONSIBLE.

5. THOSE ACCUSED OF ASSASSINATING THE MINISTER OF
JUSTICE IN 1984 ARE CONNECTED TO MEDELLIN CARTEL CHIEF
PABLO ESCOBAR. THEY WERE TRIED IN 1988 AND A JURY FOUND
THEM INNOCENT. THE JUDGE THREW OUT THE VERDICT,
DECLARING IT NULL AND VOID BECAUSE IT CONTRADICTED THE
EVIDENCE. A NEW JURY WAS SO SEVERELY THREATENED THAT
THE JUDGE DECLARED A MISTRIAL SHORTLY BEFORE A VERDICT
WAS TO HAVE BEEN RENDERED. SEVERAL JUDGES AND OFFICIALS
WHO TOOK FORCEFUL ACTIONS AGAINST THE NARCOTICS
TRAFFICKERS HAVE BEEN FORCED TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY.

MAJOR COUNTER-TERRORISM EFFORTS
-------------------------------
6. THE GOVERNMENT ISSUED STATE-OF-SIEGE DECREES AND
ENACTED SWEEPING ANTI-TERRORIST DECREES IN JANUARY 1988
IN RESPONSE TO THE NARCOTICS TRAFFICKERS' KIDNAPPING AND
KILLING OF ATTORNEY GENERAL CARLOS MAURO HOYOS. THE
DECREES DID NOT ADDRESS EXTRADITION. THEY DID, HOWEVER,
EXPAND THE DEFINITION OF TERRORISM, ENHANCE THE POWERS
OF THE POLICE WITH REGARD TO ARRESTS, SEARCHES AND
CONFISCATIONS, CREATE SPECIAL JUDGES AND POLICE TO DEAL
WITH TERRORISM, AND PROVIDE STRICT RULES FOR THE USE OF
HABEAS CORPUS. TWO PROVISIONS OF THE DECREES WERE
SUBSEQUENTLY OVERTURNED BY THE SUPREME COURT,
SPECIFICALLY THOSE ITEMS ALLOWING POLICE AND MILITARY
FORCES TO MAKES SEARCHES AND ARRESTS ON THE BASIS OF
SUSPICION AND WITHOUT WARRANTS, AND REQUIRING
REGISTRATION OF PROPERTY AND INHABITANTS IN AREAS DEEMED
TO BE USED BY TERRORISTS.

7. IN ADDITION, COLOMBIA HAS WORKED FOR ADOPTION IN THE
UNITED NATIONS AND THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
OF RESOLUTIONS CONDEMNING THE ILLICIT CONVENTIONAL ARMS
TRADE. THESE EFFORTS ARE DESIGNED TO LIMIT THE
AVAILABILITY OF SOPHISTICATED CONVENTIONAL ARMS TO
WEALTHY TRAFFICKERS AND GUERRILLAS.

8. THE GOVERNMENT OF COLOMBIA HAS MADE NO PUBLIC
STATEMENTS IN SUPPORT OF INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM.


MCNAMARA

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