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2004-11-02 18:31:00
Embassy Bogota
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 BOGOTA 012689 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/14/2014

Classified By: Ambassador William B. Wood for reasons 1.4 (b)
and (d).

1. (U) The following is an update of Plan Colombia-related
activities reported during November 2004.




2. (U) The Justice Sector Reform Program (JSRP) coordinated
several training courses during November. They included the
following: "Investigator as a Witness" (in Bogota, Medellin,
Cali, Bucaramanga, Pereira, Tunja and Manizales); "Criminal
Trial Advocacy ) Judge's Training" (in Bogota for 40
judges); "Criminal Trial Advocacy" (two courses in Bogota for
120 prosecutors and 60 investigators); "Police Discipline,
Ethics, and Transparency" (in Bucaramanga for 40 Police
Commanders); an "Expert Witness Course" (in Bogota for 20
laboratory forensic examiners); and a "Train the Trainer"
course (in Bogota for 35 potential new
prosecutors/instructors of the Criminal Trial Advocacy

3. (U) JSRP also coordinated an observational visit to U.S.
Courts in Washington D.C. for 12 prosecutors and one judge;
set up an oral trial presentation and simulation at the
Twelfth National Congress of Legal Medicine and Forensic
Science for 200 forensic experts and medical examiners; sent
4 Colombian justice officials to the DOJ Cyber Crime Regional
Workshop in Lima, Peru; and completed a one-week expert
evaluation of the status of Colombia's evidence rooms and
evidence procedures.




4. (U) During the week of November 1, ICITAP sponsored the
visit of chief medical examiners from Wayne County, Michigan,
and Cook County, Illinois. They gave presentations at the
12th Annual Forensic Science Conference on the role of the
medical examiner's office in the accusatory justice system.
The presentations included a "mock trial" practical exercise.

5. (U) In November, ICITAP provided the equipment and
technical assistance to start a wireless fingerprint network
within and between the National Police - DIJIN and the
Institute for Legal Medicine. The network will allow
investigators at a crime scene to send fingerprints obtained
at the scene via a wireless transmission to the Police
Fingerprint Archive. The Institute can now also wirelessly
transmit the fingerprints of unidentified cadavers to the
Police Fingerprint Archive for possible identification. The
system should reduce the time for fingerprint examinations,
especially in critical cases involving human rights abuses
and violent crimes.

6. (U) In November, ICITAP conducted "Investigator as a
Witness" training for all Judicial Police Investigators in
Armenia, Quindio Department. So far this year, ICITAP has
trained 385 Judicial Police Investigators. In December,
ICITAP will complete training in Pereira, Risaralda
Department, and Manizales, Caldas Department. The training
is designed to help the Judicial Police transition to the
accusatory system of justice that will be implemented in
Bogota, Armenia, Pereira, and Manizales in January 2005.




7. (C) Colombian Military Commander General Ospina said that
following changes among the Flag-Grade Officers he will
establish a joint command on the north coast consisting of
the First Division, Caribbean fleet assets, Combatant Air
Commands, and riverine elements. The command will be led by
an army commander, probably the division commander. General
Ospina is also planning to create three joint entities in the
capital region: a joint intelligence command, a joint
MEDEVAC/Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) unit, and the Joint
Special Operations Command. He will name a General Officer
to head each organization and is considering appointing
General Freddy Padilla de Leon as their first line reporting
General Officer. Ospina will staff the joint Special
Operations Command with one General Officer, three colonels,
five lieutenant colonels, and 13 other officers and
non-commissioned officers. The command will be located on
the grounds of the Infantry or Cavalry School.

8. (C) Brigadier General Gustavo Matamoros Camacho said that
Civil Affairs/PSYOPS activities are beginning to change
civilian perceptions of the military throughout Arauca.
Support actions by battalion commanders, such as Lieutenant
Colonel Francisco Medina Corredor in Saravena, are gaining a
civilian support base. Activities like Medical Readiness
Training exercises, soccer games/tournaments sponsored by and
on military installations, children's activities and parties,
and radio broadcasts and military-civilian contact are
beginning to show results. The mayor of Saravena, who won the
election while jailed under suspicion of being a member of
the ELN, is now working closely with Lt. Col. Medina to
affect change with the population of Saravena. The efforts
of the deployed Special Forces Operation Detachment Alpha in
assisting with recent activities were highlighted by both
BGen Matamoros and Lt. Col. Medina as being force
multipliers. BGen Matamoros has forged a strong relationship
with the Governor of Arauca and both realize that
civil-military cooperation in Arauca is a long term project
that must be sustained by the GOC and COLMIL. Discussions at
the Second Division in Bucaramanga also indicated that the
Information Operations campaign was as effective as military
operations in neutralizing the influence of illegal armed

9. (C) A COLAF commander signed a sole source justification
letter to accompany a letter of request for pricing and
availability on two C-130 aircraft for sale by Evergreen
Aircraft Sales and Leasing Company. The paperwork was
submitted via security assistance channels. The most
effective method for the COLAF to acquire these systems is
through security assistance funding and acquisition. A
third-party company, Hoover Aviation, may purchase the
C-130s, then perform maintenance/avionics upgrades, and
re-sell them to the COLAF. This acquisition will increase
the strategic lift fleet by 25 percent.


10. (U) Asset forfeiture has long been a torturously
bureaucratic and ineffective process in Colombia, reserved
only for the strongest cases against major narcotics
traffickers. In a little-noticed September press conference
in the Department of Santander, President Uribe announced
that in cases involving the cultivation of illicit narcotics,
asset seizure and forfeiture would be applied to small farms
as well as large ones. Since that announcement, the
Colombian National Police (CNP) have taken several steps to
make the President's warning a reality. The CNP currently
has plans to implement the asset forfeiture process as a
potent complement to forced eradication.

11. (U) On November 24, the SIJIN (Judicial and Investigative
Police) conducted a workshop on asset forfeiture and seizure
to brief Boyaca municipal police units on legal requirements
for building strong cases. These include firm identification
of title and possession of the plot, proper chain of custody
techniques for crop samples, testing by an established
criminal laboratory, and coordination with several GOC
agencies, including the Fiscalia, Direccion Nacional de
Estupifacientes (DNE - Colombia's "Drug Czar" equivalent
agency), and the Augustin Codazzi Geographic Institute. NAS
is working with departmental police -- who are now manually
eradicating coca in western Boyaca -- to start an asset
forfeiture case in each coca-growing municipality. NAS and
the CNP District Commander for the zone recently met with
police units and local mayors to explain the program and NAS
will soon be providing GPS units and other equipment to
facilitate the process. GOC-led manual eradication projects
underway in Llorente (Narino) and Orito (Putumayo) also plan
to start at least one case in each area to alter the
risk/reward ratio for illicit crop growers.

12. (U) Through leaflets and radio interviews, the CNP is
spreading the word that land seizure awaits any who risk
planting coca on their land. Examples of actual cases in
each growing region will undoubtedly be the most effective
force multiplier, and may even result in growers uprooting
their own crops in advance of the arrival of law enforcement.
Post has previously reported on the many drawbacks of manual
eradication, which include hazardous, difficult working
conditions and a tempo that is unable to outpace replanting.
Post will encourage the GOC to incorporate an active,
strategic asset forfeiture program into manual eradication
programs so that the CNP garners some advantage from an
inherently risky activity.


13. (U) VIP Personal Protection Program: Weapons for this
program have been received and will be distributed to the
personal protection details of the President, Vice President,
Minister of Defense, and the Mayor of Bogota. Some will be
held back for training purposes.

14. (U) Anti-Kidnapping Initiative: Ten persons assigned to
GAULA units completed a two-week "train the trainer" course
and will be assistant instructors when Crisis Response
Training (CRT) commences in early January. Dates for the
next CRT course have not been confirmed at this time, but it
will probably take place in early January 2005.




15. (U) Ambassador Wood and Foreign Minister Barco formalized
the FY04 obligation of USD 116.7 million in USAID
humanitarian and socio-economic assistance. To date, the USG
has allocated a total of USD 458 million, including USD 123
million to support a more responsive and accountable
democracy, USD 206 million to promote economic and social
alternatives to illicit crop production, and USD 129 million
to provide economic and social opportunities to displaced
persons and members of other vulnerable groups.

16. (U) Under its Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) program,
USAID is assisting the Colombian government with the design
of a contingency plan to support former child combatants in
the event of large-scale demobilizations. Training for local
authorities has been undertaken in eight municipalities and
will eventually cover at least five additional localities.
To date, USAID has assisted over 2,000 former child
combatants through activities such as psychological
counseling, education, and vocational skills development.

17. (U) USAID Alternative Development Program partner Land O'
Lakes signed a grant agreement for USD 100,000 with a local
cooperative, COLANTA, to establish milk collection centers
(MCCs) in the municipalities of Yarumal, Valdivia, Briceno,
Caceres, Taraza, and Caucasia in the Bajo Cauca region of the
department of Antioquia. In the initial phase, 20 MCCs will
be established with a daily average capacity of 750 liters
each. Each tank will serve between two and ten producers on
nearby farms. The average investment per MCC is USD 5,000,
of which 80 percent will be financed directly by program
beneficiaries through bank loans facilitated by the GOC's
Agricultural and Livestock Financial Fund (FINAGRO). The
remaining 20 percent will be financed with grant resources
from USAID's Dairy Development Program.