Don Mario’s announcement a few days ago that he wants to be a peace manager and is willing to demobilize 6000 of his boys and girls struck me as odd. It is as unbelievable to me as former FARC-commander Karina who also is a peace solicitor and who like Don Mario has also committed a great amount of crimes.
Neither of them has much credibility. Karina had to surrender because the army had surrounded her and Don Mario was captured. They both committed quite a lot of crimes and they didn’t abandon their armed group because they were convinced that this wasn’t the way. Moreover, Don Mario’s successors are already known to the police, according to El Tiempo: the Úsuga brothers.
It is not very probable that the government will grant Don Mario’s wish. It is probably not convenient, because like the former paramilitary commanders who are already in the United States, he knows too much. Too much, about relations between old or new paramilitary groups with the army and ties of those groups with politicians.
It is more convenient that Karina is a peace solicitor. She lost all credibility within the FARC, because she has said that the armed struggle is no longer useful. Moreover she said that she completely agrees with president Uribe’s policy. That is why she cannot be part of the humanitarian agreement any longer, she has become a harmless person for the government. For the FARC she sold her soul to the devil and in a way she did. If she had been in a stronger position she wouldn’t probably have surrendered.
Don Mario is awaiting the same fate as the other 16 extradited former paramilitary commanders. And it seems that his brother ‘El Aleman’ will go the same way: to the USA.
On the short term this will work. The former paramilitary commanders are being tried in the United States on drug charges and little more will be known about the other crimes they have committed and their ties with army officers and politicians. It is not known however what will happen after they have fulfilled their punishments in the United States.
On the long term the International Criminal Court will come in if Colombian and American justice don’t work. The victims’ movement will not let it happen that the crimes against humanity they have committed will not be punished. Lately they have got an important support: Spanish prestigious judge Balthazar Garzón.
As for Karina, her being a peace solicitor is no guarantee either. Her victims can also appeal at the International Criminal Court.
Author Wies Ubags is a Dutch freelance journalist in Bogotá, works for media in her country and has her own weblog.