Warlord in Colombia asks "aid" to rescue corpses in Venezuela

Warlord in Colombia asks "aid" to rescue corpses in Venezuela

Salvatore Mancuso, a former commander of the far-right paramilitaries that demobilized in 2006 in Colombia, asked Venezuela for “help” on Tuesday to locate and recover more than 200 bodies of its victims buried on the other side of the border that his men bled to death in the middle of the fight against the guerrillas.

Incarcerated in Georgia, United States, Mancuso participated via videoconference in a meeting between Colombian Foreign Minister Álvaro Leyva, NGOs, relatives of victims and diplomats from Venezuela and other countries in a rural area of ​​the border department of Norte de Santander (northeast).

“In Venezuelan territory there are more than 200 people who are missing today [y enterradas] for us, the self-defense groups [Unidas de Colombia (AUC)]”, said the former Colombian-Italian commander, sentenced in 2008 to 15 years and eight months in prison for drug trafficking.

After laying down his arms in 2006 as part of a peace agreement with former President Álvaro Uribe (2002-2010), alias “El Mono” was handed over to the US authorities. He constantly denounces ill-treatment such as torture to prevent him from telling the truth about the relations between important politicians and the paramilitaries.

The peace agreement provided for a maximum of eight years in prison in Colombia for the paramilitary chiefs in exchange for their disarmament and confession of crimes, but several of them were extradited by surprise.

This Tuesday Mancuso (58 years old) acknowledged that he pressured his men to the point that they came to “create” gigantic crematory ovens to incinerate the bodies of peasants and rebels in Norte de Santander, in addition to burying others on the other side of the river that separates Colombia from Venezuela.

“Even though we continue to pay” in jail, “the debt with you is still valid,” he told the families of the victims who listened to it and saw it on a screen. “I regret it with deep shame,” he added.

He also asked Foreign Minister Leyva to reach “a bilateral agreement with the Venezuelan government” that allows the authorities and the ex-paramilitaries themselves to be released “locate, identify and recover the remains of all those victims”.

After the event, the minister toured the brick kilns used by the paramilitaries with the press. to disappear their victims and who are still standing. From there, he assured that he will give Mancuso’s request “priority” and that he will look for a way to “reach protocols to effectively search” for the dead in Venezuela.

In the fight with blood and fire against the insurgencythe AUC sowed terror with massacres and persecuted politicians, peasants, and community leaders who, according to them, had ties to leftist organizations.

Official sources estimate that at least 450,000 people They died in the midst of fighting between guerrillas, paramilitaries and state forces.

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