The prison-produced CDs of a convicted paramilitary were handed out to soldiers at an event last year put on by Colombia’s National Army to pay homage to servicemen wounded in combat, according to national media reports.
Oliverio Isaza, alias “Terror,” is the son of former paramilitary leader Ramon Isaza and himself a former member of the AUC paramilitary bloc. Isaza is responsible for hundreds of deaths and disappearances in Colombia but surrendered to authorities in 2008 under the terms of the Justice and Peace statute, which offers paramilitaries dramatically reduced sentencing in exchange for cooperation and demobilization.
Three years ago, the El Tiempo newspaper revealed he had been granted permission to produce his own music from prison as a way of “compensating” his victims.
On October 4 last year, the army hosted an event named “Heroes Air,” intended to honor soldiers wounded in combat. The concert took place in Bogota and featured popular music artists, who played to an audience of around 600 people.
During the event, posters featuring Terror — who now refers to himself by his given name — and CDs of his latest release, “A New Dream,” were distributed among the audience.
Pictures from the concert featuring soldiers posing alongside promotional material for Isaza surfaced recently on the former paramilitary’s Facebook page. Given the close ties between the military and Colombia’s paramilitary structure, the pictures spurred outrage among certain public officials and families of Isaza’s more than 600 victims and were promptly removed from the page.
A spokesman for the military said the event was “assaulted in good faith”, and that no information about the use of Isaza’s music was made aware to organizers prior to the event. “We reject this situation,” an Army spokesman told the El Tiempo newspaper. “The Army does not promote this album.”
Isaza is currently in jail in Bogota and has reportedly been given the go ahead by the Prosecutor General’s Justice and Peace Office to produce his third album from prison.
The tone of much of Isaza’s music is said to be conciliatory, with songs dedicated to his victims. The families affected by the more than 250 crimes he has admitted to, however, seem less interested in moving on.