The victims aren’t just conserned about their thousands of dead and missing loved ones, but also about how some of Mancuso’s commanders of the Catacumbo bloc have gone underground and joined the Águilas Negras.One of these “disappeared” commanders is Armando Alberto Pérez Betancourt, an Colombian Army commander who was considered Mancuso’s right hand in the region and leading a mobile unit and considered behind massacres, disappearances and displacements in 14 municipalities in Norte de Santander. Betancourt left the AUC demobilization process and has been missing since.One other paramilitary leader that never answered for his crimes is ‘Felipe’, commander of the ‘La Gabarra’ front and responsible for several massacres anddisappearances in the municipalities of El Tarra and Tibú. ‘Felipe’ never took part in the demobilization process and is considered one of the current bosses of the Águilas Negras in the region.The only AUC commander in the region that did confess his crimes as part of the country’s demobilization process was Jorge Iván ‘Iguano’ Laverde Zapata, commander of the Border front. He confessed over 2,000 crimes.But only Mancuso knows about the deaths in Catacumbo. In January 2007 he clarified to the Justice and Peace commission more than 200 deaths and disappearances in La Gabarra, El Tarra, Tibú and Cúcuta, the alleged links with members of the security forces and politicians in the region.Mancuso promised to try to fill the remaining gaps in its report on facts that bind mayors, former mayors, politicians, prosecutors, academics.To be able to do that he wanted to be in a jail close to the men who were under his command and update his database of crimes on his computer. The computer, together with other leaders’ laptops and simcards disappeared after his extradition.”We try to have clarity over the 5000 deaths,” says Wilfredo Cañizares of NGO Progresar and lawyer of the victims. “We can not take the risk that the most cruel and barbaric paramilitary episodes remain unpunished. We need to know whether the Colombian Government had reached an agreement with the United States to help the victims.”Salvatore so far has confessed 566 crimes.
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