A notorious Colombian emerald dealer is accused of perpetrating a massacre of 12 people in southern Colombia in 1997, local media reported on Thursday.
According to a declassified United States government report, Victor Carranza, also known as “The Emerald Czar” because of his control over emerald exploitation in Colombia, was accused of facilitating a massacre in Miraflores with the help of the right-wing paramilitary group AUC. The accusations in the report were backed up by a former AUC member, Fredy Rendon Herrera, alias “El Aleman,” Caracol Radio reported.
The U.S. report stated that a former paramilitary leader, going under the alias “Clodomiro Agami”, suspiciously similar to “Clodomiro Agamez”, the alias used by Carranza, “freely admitted that he and men under his command were responsible for the October, 1997 killings in Miraflores.” However, the report does not explicitly state that Carranza nor Clodomiro Agamez was the mastermind.
The report gets even murkier when it notes that the Colombian army, which was rife with corruption and AUC supporters at the time, allowed paramilitaries to travel to a remote airport with the intention of carrying out the killings. The report states that “elements of the Colombian army had been fully aware in advance [of the] plans and activities in Miraflores.”
The massacre ended in the death of 12 people with hundreds more being displaced. The report indicated that it was an AUC-led three-day operation, with possible help from the army, to gain control of the area, generally inhabited by left-wing guerrilla supporters.
This is not the first time Carranza has been accused of having ties with the AUC. According to local media, the Emerald Czar escapes conviction every time he is brought to court because witnesses get killed or threatened.