A former paramilitary commander has accused Bogota’s Government Secretary of helping Pablo Escobar influence the creation of Colombia’s 1991 constitution, reported Caracol Radio Tuesday.
Government Secretary Antonio Navarro was one of the leaders of the left-wing urban guerrilla group M-19 who in the late 1980s demobilized to form a legal political party, the M-19 Democratic Alliance. The new party took part in a constituency responsible for the creation of Colombia’s 1991 constitution.
Former AUC boss “Ernesto Baez” said Navarro and his party allowed rancher and businessman Augusto Ramirez Cardona to take part in the constituency.
According to Baez, Ramirez Cardona was a representative of Escobar and charged with preventing the new constitution from allowing Colombian criminals to be extradited, something the slain drug lord Escobar feared.
Baez said the arrangement between Navarro’s M-19 and the Medellin cartel was overseen by Jaime Eduardo Rueda Rocha. Rueda was a prominent member of the cartel and one of the men allegedly behind the 1989 killing of Liberal Party presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan.
In a response, Navarro said Ramirez Cardona took part in the constituency as member of the paramilitary “self defense group of Puerto Boyaca” who decided to demobilize at the same time as the M-19. “This is nothing new, nothing that wasn’t already public,” Navarro told W Radio.
An earlier collaboration allegedly between the Medellin cartel and the M-19 resulted in the guerrillas’ occupation of Colombia’s Palace of Justice in Bogota. After a violent army siege the building went up in flames, burning all judicial files regarding Escobar and his cartel. More than a hundred people died in the siege.