Witnesses in a trial against north Colombia politicians who are
suspected of having made pacts with paramilitary death squads have been
threatened not to testify before the judge, newspaper El Espectador
Two of the biggest cases of links between paramilitaries and politicians in Colombia’s Atlantic coast are the Chivolo and the Pivijay pact of 2000 and 2002. In these deals, the paramilitary organization AUC agreed to support the election campaign of governors and congressmen in the Magdalena department.
Eight politicians and two businessmen were called for questioning about the pact in November 2008. Now one of the witnesses, Franklin Ramon Lozano Almanza, former mayor of Zapayan, is reported to have repeatedly received threatening messages. An unidentified person called Lozano on his cell phone and said he would be killed if he cooperates with justice.
“I have already located you, listen. Now when you arrive at the farm you will see the surprise I have for you… I know where the farm is, with whom you go there,” one of the messages said on August 2.
An official of the prosecution has also been threatened over the investigation. The investigation of the Chivolo and Pivijay pact are difficult because allegedly more than 400 regional political leaders are involved in them.
Some of the politicians linked to the pacts — prosecuted for crimes of conspiracy to commit a crime and embezzlement — are called for investigations in Barranquilla on August 19.