An imprisoned former military captain has accused his former commanders, under direct orders from former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe, of instructing him to carry out assassinations, local news website Las 2 Orillas reported.
During a candid interview, Captain Adolfo Enrique Guevara Cantillo, alias “101”, divulged information on assassinations — including those of false positives — he carried out during his military command as ordered by his superiors, including current commanders and former president Uribe who “dictated orders to assassinate.”
Guevara Cantillo, a former chief of intelligence in Colombia’s elite group against extortion and kidnapping (GAULA) in the northern state of Magdalena until 2004, revealed that from 1998 he was — as a member of the military — also an acting lieutenant in a paramilitary unit under the command of Rodrigo Tovar Pupo, alias “Jorge 40” of the AUC.
Simultaneous Commander of Paramilitaries and National Military
“My commander 40 (Jorge 40) would send me his AUC troops, I would pass them off as military troops, and I would lead them into confrontations against the guerrillas,” Guevara Cantillo said, adding he acted with the full knowledge of his then commanders from the Colombian armed forces.
Guevara Cantillo assured that he was not a mole within the military, but instead openly worked within the two armed groups — legal and illegal — under the protection of military commanders, such as General Mario Montoya who eventually became the Commander of the Colombian Army.
According to Guevara Cantillo, he conducted a number of illegal operations and received orders to carry out a number of assassinations from General Montoya — who would receive the orders from president Uribe.
“Those were the policies of Mario Montoya ‘just kill them, kill them, don’t bring me prisoners. And if there are no casualties, then just work it out,’ those were his words,” Guevara Cantillo stated.
“Ironically, I assassinated people as a military officer, not as a paramilitary,” he said, and described an intimate, criminally immune and efficient relationship between the armed forces of the Colombian state and far right paramilitary forces.
Holding a file filled with official papers, photos showing the body of a deceased guerrilla, and signatures of his former commanders deeming it legal, Guevara Cantillo held the photo up to the camera during the interview and described the deceased as a “false positive.”
The false positives scandal — which accused the military of assassinating thousands of innocent people and dressing the bodies as guerrillas to increase combat kills — came to light during the presidency of Alvaro Uribe who, until 2008 when an investigation linked the body of a unidentified rebel fighter to a missing person, denied the involvement of the armed forces.
“This is a false positive,” Guevara Cantillo said as he held up the file, “committed by me as a member of the GAULA.” He described how his military commanders would, “when the numbers were low”, inform him of where and when to carry out an assassinations.
According to Guevara, former Major — and current Colonel — Edgar Ivan Quiñones Cardenas coordinated the assassinations with information of paramilitary accomplices, signed false the legalization of the “combat kill”, and obtained the weapons that Captain Guevara Cantillo would place next to the bodies.
“Whoever got down from the car, the motorbike or whatever, I would kill, no questions asked,” he said and added that officials such as the GAULA would arrive after the operation and “put on the show”, released official press statements and legalize the order.
“That way […] all the false positives that you’d want, because it is one thing to say that ‘I heard or I was told about them’. No, I executed him, I did it,” he stated.
MORE: False Positives
According to Guevara Cantillo, these false positives are still part of the statistics that comprise the “victories” in the war against the FARC armed rebel group, which former president Uribe continues to claim.
Conducted by Colombian journalist Gonzale Guillen, the interview with Guevara Cantillo is dated September 2013 in the Barranquilla Nacional Modelo prison, but was only released on Sunday by Las 2 Orillas after “multiple consultations with military, judicial, diplomatic, civil and criminal sources” were undertaken to confirm the allegations.
Colombia’s former president and current senate candidate is facing numerous allegations of his ties to the Medellin cartel of Pablo Escobar and the paramilitary organization AUC that was formed by former members of Escobar’s enforcer army.