The president said Friday, “Olivo Saldaña is not in a process of re-integration, he is in jail, he is guarded by INPEC [Colombia’s prison authority]. At one time he was manager of peace, but this program is suspended.”
Santos confirmed that Saldaña is not receiving any benefits for demobilizing.
Controversy began when allegations surfaced from two incarcerated ex-guerrillas that the demobilization of 66 guerrillas from the Cacica Gaitana front of the FARC was faked by then-Peace Commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo, Olivo Saldaña, along with a retired military general and an extradited drug trafficker.
Those involved reportedly dressed, armed and then trained homeless and unemployed people in the Tolima department to make them appear to be FARC rebels, only to have them surrender to security forces.
A WikiLeaks cable from 2006 released Thursday suggests that there was doubt about the veracity of the demobilization just days after it happened on March 7, 2006.
Liduine Zumpolle, the Dutch director of the organization Hands for Peace International, which aims to help former guerrillas re-integrate as productive members of society told La F.M. that the false demobilization was a secret circulating in the prisons.
Her organization, who initially supported the demobilization, later backed out because according to her it was, “a farce, many people told me there was something odd about this demobilization.”
Zumpolle visits high-security jails across Colombia talking to former fighters who wish to become a constructive part of society.