Speaking via videolink from a U.S. jail, during a Supreme Court trial of ex-Congressman Mario Salomon Nader for paramilitary links, Mancuso gave a clear description of the AUCs political strategy. “We committed ourselves to the elections of senators and house representatives, that which allowed us to have such power that we could even influence the presidential elections, said the former commander. “All this [was] with a view to gaining political power in the regions in order to consolidate our position as the de facto state.”
Mancuso, who was a leading figure in the AUC demobilization process before being extradited to the U.S. in 2008, made the claims during a discussion of the ‘Pacto de Mariscos,’ a deal agreed between the AUC and politicians in Cordoba in the 1990s, for which 11 former mayors, deputies and councillors were jailed last year.
He told the court that Salmon Nader had played an active part in the pact, seeking the support of the AUC’s Elmer Cardenas Bloc commander Fredy Rendon Herrera on multiple occasions. It had been agreed that Salomon Nader would be made a senator, and another politician Reginaldo Montes would be make a house representative, he claimed.
Mancuso, who has accused the Colombian state of failing to protect his now-threatened family, said to achieve its objectives it was necessary for the AUC to infiltrate all political parties, in order to be able to influence presidential elections.