Mayor Federico Gutierrez has claimed the Oficina — once founded by legendary drug lord Pablo Escobar — wants to assassinate him and has intentionally increased street crime to discredit and ultimately “topple” him.
However, in a letter sent to weekly Semana, the Oficina said that “aforementioned reports are a serious case of disinformation.”
We consider the accusations part of a opportunistic PR plan that seeks to show results in regards to public security and justify repressive policies that in no way contribute to the solution of the real social issues that aggravate the urban armed conflict on a daily basis.
Oficina de Envigado
The Oficina, together with its paramilitary ally, the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC), a.k.a. Los Urabeños, have been asking to be included in a peace process currently held with Marxist guerrilla group FARC for approximately a year, but without response.
The authorities’ refusal to negotiate the paramilitaries’ inclusion is eroding the groups’ “expressed will to proceed towards an eventual process that facilitates the transition of our [armed] rule to favor urban peace,” the crime syndicate said.
Both the Oficina and the AGC are powerful dissidents of the partially successful demobilization of paramilitary umbrella organization AUC between 2003 and 2006 that sustain themselves with international drug trafficking and other criminal rackets like extortion.
The crime syndicate does not stand alone in its accusations Gutierrez is mainly busy window dressing in regards the city’s crime.
Youth organizations last year urged the mayor to effectively execute the security policies he had promised while campaigning to become mayor in 2015.
The city saw its homicide rate rise in 2016 for the first time since 2008 when the extradition of AUC and Oficina boss “Don Berna” sparked a turf war that cost the lives of approximately 2,000 people.
The Oficina is the de facto authority in many of Medellin’s poorer neighborhoods and is alleged to have long-standing ties to the economic and political elites.
In a rare interview in 2015, the now-arrested Oficina boss “Pantera” called the local Police Department the crime organization’s “biggest ally.”