Petro names Colombian paramilitary chief Salvatore Mancuso “peace manager”

Gustavo Petro alleged that the decision to appoint the former paramilitary chief as “peace manager” is aimed at “achieving complete peace” in Colombia.

He president of ColombiaGustavo Petro, announced this Sunday, July 23, that he has decided to name the former head of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) paramilitaries Salvatore Mancuso as “peace manager” to finish the peace process that in his opinion was unfinished with the paramilitaries.

“The peace process between the Uribe government and the paramilitaries has not yet finished, the whole truth is not yet known, the haciendas delivered in part have been lost in the hands of the state, recycled to new groups that inherited the paramilitaries, many victims’ bodies have not yet been found (sic),” Petro announced on his Twitter account.

For this reason, “to finish the process and achieve complete peace, I have decided to appoint Salvatore Mancuso as peace manager,” he alleged.

The AUC, the group that committed the most homicides during the armed conflict, according to the Truth Commission, demobilized in 2006 after a negotiation process with the Uribe government.

As part of the agreement, the ex-paramilitaries took advantage of the Justice and Peace Law, which contemplated sentences of a maximum of eight years in prison in exchange for collaboration to clarify crimes, but some of the leaders lost those benefits and many, including Mancuso, ended up extradited to the United States for sentences related to drug trafficking.

There were many other paramilitaries who returned to arms, forming new groups, such as the Clan del Golfo.

Mancuso testified in May before the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) in a hearing with which he tries to receive him before this special justice, which contemplates non-custodial sentences in exchange for a contribution of truth.

There, during the four days of hearings, he acknowledged facts that were known, such as the links between paramilitaries, politicians and companies, crimes that were committed, and also gave information that was not known, such as the existence of disappeared persons in Venezuela, where they took the bodies of those murdered so that they would not find them.

*Read also: 10 died when bus with Venezuelan migrants fell into a ravine in Colombia

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