Colombia’s former president Alvaro Uribe is behind the assassination of Carlos and Vicente Castaño, two of the brothers who founded paramilitary organization AUC, says former paramilitary commander “El Aleman.”
In an interview with Bogota public television network Canal Capital, broadcast later on Thursday, Freddy Rendon, alias El Aleman, said that “President Uribe and a small group close to him are responsible for the death of the two Castaño brothers.”
According to El Aleman, who commanded the AUC’s Bloque Elmer Cardenas in the northwest of Colombia, the remaining leaders of the paramilitary organization were extradited in 2008 “to shut us up about this issue.”
Canal Capital said in a preview of the interview that the accusations made by the AUC commander were supported by Raul Hasbun, who mediated a deal between the AUC and U.S. banana giant Chiquita Brands.
Additionally, “According to the former paramilitaries, ex-Peace Commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo was behind the operation to end the lives of the Castaño brothers,” reported Canal Capital.
Carlos and Vicente Castaño, led by their older brother Fidel, founded the AUC after having made part of the Pepes, a vigilante group formed in the 1980s to kill drug lord Pablo Escobar in collaboration with members of the security forces.
Castaño was assassinated in 2004. Vicente allegedly was killed in 2007, although his death has never been confirmed.
The AUC, under the supervision of Restrepo, demobilized between 2003 and 2006. The majority of its commanders was extradited in May 2008 against the order of Colombia’s Supreme Court.
To date, hundreds of Colombian local and national politicians have been sentenced for having used paramilitary intimidation to get elected into office. Uribe has been accused of having had ties to the paramilitaries by both former commanders and political opponents, but has categorically rejected allegations as a “criminal conspiracy.”