Ex-paramilitary chief Don Mario, now collaborating with the authorities under the Peace and Justice Law, has divulged a list of politicians he said were linked to right-wing fighters.
In his testimony before a unit of the Peace and Justice Law prosecuting team Thursday, Daniel Rendón Herrera, alias ‘Don Mario’, named Luis Carlos Torres Rueda, Heber Balaguera, Edilberto Castro and Euser Rondon as having ties to paramilitaries in Meta, El Tiempo reported.
‘Don Mario’ claimed that his friendship with Rondon stemmed from an incident in which they had to flee from Los Llanos to Antioquia after threats from a rival military group.
As for Luis Carlos Torres Rueda, Don Mario said that they had both attended a meeting, along with Edilberto Castro, at the El Rollo ranch to arrange $2 billion in “shut up” money for Euser Rondon. Also present were paramilitary Centaurs Bloc chief Miguel Arroyave, and Theodosius Pabon Contreras, alias ‘El Profe’.
Euser Rondon, according to research by the prosecution, had become a “pebble in the shoe” for Castro, because of persistent allegations of corruption during the administration of the former governor.
Castro, former Governor of Meta, is serving a forty-year sentence for his part in the murders of politicians Carlos Sabogal, Euse Rendón and Nubia Sánchez. Last year, Jose Mira Vélez, a demobilized paramilitary and key witness in several parapolitics trials, was murdered just days before he was to testify against politicians accused of having ties with paramilitary groups.
‘Don Mario’ said he saw Arroyave meet several times with Castro both before and after being governor. Regarding Balaguera Hebert, a former candidate for governor of Meta, ‘Don Mario’ said he met with him, but could not remember giving him money.
Further testimony is expected in the coming days of this process, including information on links between “the ruling class” of Meta and the paramilitaries.