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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
04BOGOTA12939 2004-11-02 18:31:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bogota
Cable title:  

AUC'S CALIMA BLOC DEMOBILIZES

Tags:   PTER SNAR ASEC PHUM PINR CO OAS AUC 
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					C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BOGOTA 012939 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/21/2014
TAGS: PTER SNAR ASEC PHUM PINR CO OAS AUC
SUBJECT: AUC'S CALIMA BLOC DEMOBILIZES

REF: A. BOGOTA 12736

B. BOGOTA 12188

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

--------
Summary
--------



1. (C) The Calima Bloc, the fifth paramilitary group to
demobilize in 2004, demobilized near a small village in
northern Valle del Cauca Department on December 18. Bloc
members, most from the departments of Valle del Cauca or
Antioquia, turned in over 500 weapons. The police have
increased their presence in the Cauca River valley, where the
Calima Bloc used to operate, and the military is conducting
counterguerrilla operations in the mountain range east of the
valley, where the FARC is active. Civilian and security
officials noted that drug trafficking by other illegal armed
groups and the Norte del Valle Cartel remained a serious
obstacle to fully securing the region. Peace Commissioner
Restrepo said the Calima Bloc would be the last paramilitary
group to demobilize in 2004, bringing the total number of
paramilitaries demobilized collectively in 2004 to
approximately 2,600. End Summary.



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Calima Bloc Demobilizes


--------------------------





2. (U) On December 18, 553 paramilitaries from the United
Self-Defense Forces of Colombia's (AUC) Calima Bloc
demobilized on a farm near the village of Galicia,
Bugalagrande municipality, Valle del Cauca Department. Peace
Commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo, AUC commanders, and local
government and Roman Catholic Church officials, including
Valle del Cauca Governor Angelino Garzon and the Bishop of
Buga, gave speeches. Police and military officers, other GOC
officials, and members of the OAS verification mission were
also present. Chief of National Police Operations General
Alberto Ruiz was the highest-ranking security official in
attendance. Governor Garzon urged other illegal armed groups
active in the department to follow the Calima Bloc's example
and cease hostilities. He encouraged the GOC and the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to hold a
humanitarian exchange. AUC senior commander Salvatore
Mancuso, who appeared in civilian clothes after having
officially demobilized in Catatumbo on December 10 (ref a),
lamented that some doubted his motives for participating in
the peace process and emphasized that his only objective was
demobilization and peace. Central Bolivar Bloc (BCB)
political commander Ivan Roberto Duque, aka "Ernesto Baez,"
said other paramilitary groups active on the Pacific coast,
including the Pacific Bloc, were prepared to demobilize in


2005. Both Duque and Restrepo praised AUC leader Vicente
Castano's support for the peace process.



3. (U) In contrast to the other two large-scale paramilitary
demobilizations of 2004 (reftels), which took place near
large towns, the Calima Bloc demobilized in an isolated rural
area. The nearest airstrip was at least a 45-minute drive
away on poorly maintained dirt roads. AUC commanders Mancuso
and Duque arrived in a private helicopter from the
concentration zone at Santa Fe de Ralito, Cordoba Department,
under the supervision of the Peace Commissioner's staff.



--------------------------


Looking Forward to a New Life


--------------------------





4. (U) Many of the demobilizing paramilitaries cheered when
they turned in their weapons; some even kicked their
ammunition. Galicia residents attended the event, and one
observer commented that some in the crowd had traveled long
distances in hopes of being reunited with sons or daughters
whom they suspected had joined the Calima Bloc. There were
ten women and 26 minors in the bloc. Bloc members
surrendered just under 500 weapons, primarily rifles but also
about ten machine guns and a dozen rocket launchers. OAS
mission staff immediately began taking inventory of the
weapons.


5. (C) The demobilized paramilitaries began leaving the zone
on December 19 in government-provided buses. Few were
natives of the Bugalagrande area. Over 300 were from Valle
del Cauca Department, mostly from the cities of Buenaventura
and Cali. Another 170 were from Antioquia Department, who
will report to the reinsertion center in Turbo, in
Antioquia's coastal Uraba region. The GOC has not yet
decided where to establish the reinsertion center for former
paramilitaries from Valle del Cauca. Several members of
Restrepo's staff said a preliminary check of the list of
demobilizing paramilitaries conducted by the Prosecutor
General's Office ("Fiscalia") and Department of
Administrative Security (DAS) indicated about ten percent are
implicated in crimes beyond membership in an illegal armed
group and would be required to report to the concentration
zone at Santa Fe de Ralito. Twenty former members of the
Bananero Bloc and 60 former members of the Catatumbo Bloc are
already there.



--------------------------



--------------------------


Good Security, But Drug Trafficking Remains A Problem


--------------------------



--------------------------





6. (C) Local police and government officials expressed
confidence in the state's ability to prevent areas formerly
dominated by the Calima Bloc from being taken over by the
FARC or other illegal armed groups. They emphasized,
however, that drug trafficking remains a serious threat to
the area's security. The police have increased their
presence in the Cauca River valley, where the Calima Bloc
used to operate, and the military is conducting
counterguerrilla operations in the mountains east of the
river, where guerrillas led by FARC commander Fabian Ramirez
are active. The Calima Bloc had partially blocked the FARC
from entering the valley to transport drugs to the Pacific
coast or along the river. GOC officials underscored the
importance of demobilizing the Pacific Bloc and combating the
Norte de Valle Cartel, both of which are active in the
mountains to the west of the Cauca River and along the coast.




--------------------------


Demobilizations Will Continue in 2005


--------------------------





7. (C) Restrepo told Embassy officials the Calima Bloc will
be the last paramilitary group to demobilize in 2004,
bringing the total number of paramilitaries demobilized in
collective acts this year to 2,624. The next paramilitary
groups to demobilize will be 800 paramilitaries in Cordoba
Department formerly under Mancuso's command and 110 in the
Mojana region of Cordoba, Bolivar, and Antioquia Departments,
who are only loosely affiliated with the AUC. Restrepo
thanked the Embassy for its political support for
demobilization, but expressed frustration over the conditions
the international community was placing on the process. He
lamented that international focus has been on the legal
debate regarding justice and reparations, and not on the fact
that the GOC has achieved the successful demobilization of
thousands of rank and file paramilitary troops.
WOOD