Forwarded from Anthony (Colombia)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Feb 16 06:34:48 MST 2001

Hi Lou:

Please Post

News from Colombia

1. Two failed assasinations reveal police/military hit squads.

Two recent failed assasination attempts here in Colombia have been directly
linked to authors int he police and military:

Yesterday in Cali an attempt to assasinate Raul Benoit, Univision's
correspondent in Colombia, failed. The "sicario" - a motorcycle riding
assassin - was shot, but not killed, by Benoit's DAS body guards. The DAS
is Colombia's version of the FBI.

The man, Carlos Emilio Molina Silva,  was almost immediately identified as
an active duty member of Colombia's national police force. In Colombia the
national police are part of the military.

In December, union leader Wilson Borja was very badly injured - but
survived, an assasination attempt by another sicario. The sicario was shot
and killed by Borja's bodyguards. Later a cell phone belonging to the dead
assasin was found - and recors of its phone calls revealed that calls had
been made every five minutes prior to the attempt to a police Captain. The
captain is now in jail.

Univision is the most important Spanish language network in the United
States. Among other things Benoit recently inteviewed Mono Jojoy, the
military commander of the FARC. Univision broadcast that interview to
Spanish language audiences in the USA, and had them rebraodcast throughout
Mexico. Parts of the interview were broadcast all over most of the rest of
the Spanish speaking world.

This was the fourth attempted assasination against Benoit in 25 years of TV

Borja on the other hand, was not simply a union leader, but had been
appointed to the government sponsored commissions trying to negotiate a
peace deal with the ELN.

While it has not yet been reported whether Benoit had recently recieved any
death threats, Borja had been living under such threats by the AUC -
paramilitaries - when he was host.

Carlos Castaño, leader of the AUC has admitted that his organization was
responsible for the attack on Borja, although he claims it was a botched
kidnap attempt rather than an attempted assasination. ( A rather lame and
stupid excuse, since the sicario was riding a motorcycle and shot dozens of
rounds from a submachine gun through Borja's windshield.)

The police captain linked by the cell phone calls of the sicario in the
Borja case was, apparently, already under investigation by the DAS because
of meetings he had held with the AUC in the provinces of Santander.

2. Aerial fumigation of coca crops in Sur de Bolivar, an area largely under
the control oft he paramiltaries, began yesterday. It continues in
Putumayo, where the FARC is powerful, despite the FARCs strong protests.

3. Last week Mono Jojoy, military commander of the FARC, announced that the
FARC would take two important measures to meet the demands of the
government in the peace process: stop using altered LPG cyclinders to bomb
towns; and stop recruiting soldiers under the age of 16. A few days later,
in a highly publicized event, the FARC ushered 62 cashiered underage
soldiers into the custody of well meaning NGO types who - the reports said
- will arrange for their return to their families or other appropriate

4. A couple of weeks ago a commercial airline flying out of San Vicente de
Caguan (capital fo the despeje) was hijacked by a FARC cadre. The man was
deserting. He was later jumped by the plane's crew, and is now in prison
for hijacking. Apparently he was a member of the body guard of the FARC
secretariat, and can be seen among its members in various videos taken
before the man defected. Now he is giving interviews to the press about why
he defected. Among the rumours on the streets of Bogotá is one that the man
was an agent of the military from the begining - which would imply a much
more serious breach of FARC security than if he were simply a defector. In
any case, this breach of the security of the leadership of the FARc
happened just days before the "unfreezing" of peace talks by the FARC.

5. This country is embroiled in a major electric energy privatrization and
deregulation scandal that involves some of the closest friends and advisors
of the current President, Andres Pastrana, and some of the closest friends
and advisors of his predecessor, Ernesto Samper. Aside from the very
interesting links this scandal has with the California crisis and the
George W. Bush cabal, it has led to a big rise in the electoral chances of
any candidate outside of the two major political parties. In practice, it
has dramatically increased the electoral chances of Noemi Sanin.

Louis Proyect
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