Former President Alvaro Uribe in 2004 predicted the rise of neo-paramilitary groups from the ashes of the demobilized AUC. He also said guerrilla groups FARC and ELN wouldn’t last to 2009, according to diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks Thursday.
A WikiLeaks cable from November 2, 2004, revealed that Uribe “speculated that splinter groups of narco-trafficking organizations will follow in the wake of paramilitaries and observed that destroying those groups will require a military solution.”
In the same cable Uribe predicted that illegal armed groups such as the FARC and National Liberation Army (ELN) would be defunct by the year 2009.
The cable states “Uribe noted that Colombia’s illegal armed groups have been seriously weakened by GOC [government of Colombia] military pressure, and, like the paramilitaries, both the FARC and ELN will opt for peaceful negotiations within the next five years.”
The former president was wrong about the still-active FARC and ELN, but was right regarding the paramilitary splinter groups. Following the AUC’s demobilization in 2003-2006, neo-paramilitary groups like “Los Urabeños,” “Los Paisas,” the “Oficina of Envigado” and ERPAC have posed an ongoing challenge to Colombia’s security forces.
In January, Interior Justice Secretary German Vargas Lleras called these criminal gangs emerging from the demobilized AUC the “new enemy” of the Colombian state. The Liberal Party recently went so far as to blame Uribe for the current security problems with groups that emerged from the demobilized paramilitary organization.