The ex-AUC member “Monoleche” claimed Tuesday that Colombia’s former government is responsible for the murder of leading AUC commander Vicente Castaño.
“The Government [killed] Vicente Castaño,” said Jesus Ignacio Roldan Perez, better known as “Monoleche,” in front of the Court of Justice and Peace of Medellin’s High Tribunal on Tuesday.
Monoleche, the former bodyguard of Castaño, said the ex-High Commissioner of Peace, Luis Carlos Restrepo, organized the killing of his boss on the orders of ex-president Alvaro Uribe, reported conflict-monitoring website Verdad Abierta.
Restrepo, an important member of Alvaro Uribe’s (2002-2010) administration, is currently in hiding facing charges in Colombia in relation to irregularities in the demobilization process including the demobilization of a false FARC front.
Vicente Castaño Gil and his brother Carlos Castaño Gil were the co-founders of Colombia’s United Self-Defense Forces (AUC), an anti-subversive, right-wing paramilitary coalition which demobilized between 2003 and 2006. Although believed to have been killed in 2007 in the northwestern Antioquia department’s Bajo Cauca region, the body of Castaño has never been found. As AUC commander, Castaño was responsible for the coalition’s nationwide expansion in the 1990’s. The deceased paramilitary was convicted in absentia in 2011 for the murder of his brother Carlos.
Monoleche was considered one of the AUC leader’s closest collaborators. In front of the Medellin Tribunal on Tuesday, the ex-paramilitary said it was “not easy” to talk about the shadowy expansion of the AUC because of the many relations the coalition had with leading politicians and businessmen.
“For us […] it is not easy when we talk about a character like for example the Commisioner [Luis Carlos Restrepo],” said Monoleche while claiming he had received threatening messages in which he and other paramilitaries were informed that “the less that speak, the more that live.”
At the same hearing, Monoleche began to detail how Restrepo organized the death of Castaño.
“It was he who searched out the people to kill Vicente Castaño, the government killed Vicente Castaño.”
According to the ex-paramilitary’s version, the High Commissioner of Peace contacted Daniel Alberto Mejia Angel, alias “Danielito,” a paramilitary detained in the east of the Antioquia department together with dozens of other paramilitaries on the orders of Alvaro Uribe, in order to keep them under surveillance. By then, in 2006, Danielito was considered a member of the AUC and the military commander of the “Heroes of Granada Bloc,” an armed, rural wing of the crime syndicate “Oficina de Envigado,” then led by alias “Don Berna,” considered the chief of Medellin’s underworld.
According to documents accessed by Verdad Abierta, Danielito was given official status as “representative member of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia” by the then-vice minister of interior and justice, Mario Iguaran Arana. This status enabled Danielito to demobilize together with the Heroes of Granada Bloc of the AUC on August 1 of that year, in cooperation with the High Commissioner of Peace.
According to Monoleche, the High Commissioner of Peace “searched for Daniel in La Ceja [reclusion center] and freed him to go and kill Vicente Castaño.” In this manner, Danielito left the reclusion center in December 2006 with the blessing of the National Government, due to not having an arrest warrant, despite being considered the right hand of Don Berna and member of the Oficina de Envigado. His release was justified by Restrepo in the following manner: “the gentleman Daniel Mejia, ‘Danielito,’ spent two and a half months in La Ceja and it was not possible to [find] an arrest warrant despite that the entire world says he is the chief of a [paramilitary] structure. Finally […] with right, we could not keep him detained and he was freed.”
After December 2006, Danielito disappeared without a trace, believed to have been killed by fellow members of the Heroes of Granada Bloc.
Monoleche’s accusations against Restrepo add to the recent controversy surrounding testimonies from “Don Berna,” “Macaco” and “Gordo Lindo,” who accused the former High Commissioner of Peace of having links to their AUC coalition.