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2005-04-25 21:12:00
Embassy Bogota
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BOGOTA 003927 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/25/2015


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


1. (C) Since 2003, almost 5,000 members of the United Self
Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) have demobilized. The last
demobilization was the La Mojana Bloc on February 2, 2005.
The GOC has begun to remedy the deficiencies in the
reinsertion process. Almost 90 percent of demobilized
paramilitaries have been entered into the electronic
monitoring system and are participating in reinsertion
programs. The GOC is working to address budget limitations
and improve weak management. The OAS verification mission is
also almost out of funding (reftel). The Ministry of
Interior and Justice's Reincorporation Office is able to
utilize the Presidency's "Peace Fund" budget office, which
allows for more flexible, efficient spending. President
Uribe endorsed the Reincorporation Office's Director Juan
David Angel as the lead on the program and gave him a seat in
cabinet meetings. A continuing concern is the lack of
employment opportunities for the demobilized. No new
demobilizations are scheduled, but the GOC plans to
demobilize the remaining 15,000 paramilitaries in 2005.


Reinsertion Moving Forward


2. (C) AUC bloc demobilizations follow three basic steps: (1)
disarm and demobilize in a special demobilization zone, (2)
report to a Reference and Orientation Center (CRO) to be
interviewed by the Prosecutor General's Office (Fiscalia) and
receive the first monthly stipend, and (3) begin reinsertion
programs. Some demobilizations were better organized and
provided more services than others. For example, some blocs
were given national identification cards during the
demobilization phase while others had to wait until they
reported to the CRO. Since demobilizations began, the GOC
has been working to fill gaps in the process:

-- CROs: The GOC has established CROs in the cities of
Cucuta, Medellin, Cali, Monteria, Turbo, Bogota and one
mobile CRO to service less populated areas. The GOC hopes to
create nine more by the end of 2005. The Peace
Commissioner's Office has turned over management of the CROs
to the Ministry of Interior and Justice's (MOI/J)
Reincorporation Office. The CROs in Cucuta, Turbo, and
Monteria are well run and have been fully staffed by the
Fiscalia, tracking and monitoring staff, municipal liaison
officers, OAS, and other relevant agencies. Others,
including the newest CRO in Cali, are much further behind and
barely have a skeleton staff. The MOI/J and Peace
Commissioner's Office recently held a meeting with all CRO
directors to discuss how to make CRO operations more uniform
and plan for a census of demobilized scheduled for late


-- Tracking and Monitoring: The International Organization
for Migration (IOM), a USAID-grantee, designed a
computer-based tracking and monitoring system for demobilized
paramilitaries. The system issues an alert when a series of
indicators show an individual is beginning to drop out of the
reinsertion program. Tracking and monitoring officials
conduct home visits to these at-risk persons. As of April
15, 87 percent (4,181) of all demobilized paramilitaries had
been entered in the tracking and monitoring system.

-- Other statistics: 1,189 have completed the National
Apprenticeship Agency's (SENA) basic course that assesses
education level and provides an orientation to life skills.
Fifty-five are in Ralito awaiting finalization of the Justice
and Peace Law. Sixty-four have been killed (reftel).
Eighty-two are in jail either for non-pardonable crimes they
committed before demobilization or for any crimes they
committed after demobilization. The Fiscalia has interviewed
2,318 (part of the pardon process) and the Department of
Administrative Security (DAS, rough FBI equivalent) has given
2,114 judicial passage (a certificate verifying that they are
not wanted for any crimes). None, however, have been
officially pardoned under Law 782, which allows the GOC to
pardon demobilized for membership in an illegal armed group
and related, minor crimes.


Problems Remain


3. (C) Limited resources and poor interagency management
continue to cause delays in issuance of reinsertion benefits.
In early April, a large group of former guerrillas and
paramilitaries from the individual deserter program
temporarily took over the MOI/J's Reincorporation Offices to
demand their benefits. They were persuaded to leave the
offices without violence but the demobilized continue to
complain about the program, especially lack of employment.
The GOC has taken some steps to resolve these problems, but
progress has been slow:

-- Tight budget: The MOI/J's Reincorporation Office's 2005
budget is CP 71 billion (roughly USD 29.5 million), the Peace
Commissioner's demobilization budget is CP 47 billion
(roughly USD 19.6 million), and the Defense Ministry's budget
for individual deserters is CP 28 billion (roughly USD 11.6
million). In order to make spending more efficient and
flexible, each agency is going to put the Presidency's Peace
Fund in charge of its budget. This should help ease delays
in allocation of resources. However, the Reincorporation
Office has warned that it has enough funding to cover basic
reinsertion costs but not enough for productive employment
projects unless outside assistance is provided.

-- Coordination: In early April, President Uribe called a
meeting with Reincorporation Director Angel, Peace
Commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo, and other cabinet members
to discuss problems with the demobilization/reinsertion
process. Uribe emphasized that reincorporation was a key GOC
mission and endorsed Angel as having the lead. Angel will
now attend all cabinet meetings. In the past, Angel had
complained that he did not have sufficient political weight
to direct the dozen or so state agencies involved in
demobilization to provide services in a timely manner.

-- Employment generation: Some demobilized have temporary
municipal jobs but the majority remain unemployed. The
private sector has provided few opportunities, although some
organizations, such as the National Cattle Rancher's
Association, have expressed interest in doing so. President
Uribe announced that he would begin requiring all government
public works contracts to include some jobs for the
demobilized. He directed Angel to find an experienced,
well-connected businessman to serve as a liaison between the
private sector and the Reincorporation Program. The
Ambassador gave a speech to the American Business Council of
Colombia on April 15 and urged them to get involved.


OAS Out of Funding


4. (C) The OAS verification mission faces similar budget
problems. Funding from USAID and the Dutch and Swedish
Governments will run out in June. Mission Director Sergio
Caramagna has said he may be forced to shut down his offices
without more assistance. On April 15, Caramagna briefed the
G-24 countries on the peace process and the OAS mission's
role. He emphasized that, although the peace process was not
perfect, it had already removed almost 5,000 paramilitaries
from the battlefield and had the potential to remove several
thousand more. He pointed out that OAS verification would
make the process more legitimate and help prevent former
paramilitaries from returning to another illegal armed group.
Caramagna sent a similar message to the OAS Permanent
Council in March. Thus far, only the Swedish and Dutch have
expressed interest in further supporting the mission. Both
countries brought in outside consultants to evaluate
assistance to date and recommend if it should continue.


No More Demobilizations Planned


5. (C) Since the debate began on the Law for Justice and
Peace, there have been no more demobilizations and talks have
been in a holding pattern. Restrepo has held at least two
negotiation sessions with the AUC since February, but they
have been heated and not resulted in concrete agreements.
The AUC has complained that the Justice and Peace Law does
not provide enough legal guarantees. Some commanders have
threatened to break off negotations if they are not satisfied
with the conditions of the peace process. Many of the
remaining AUC groups are led by commanders heavily involved
in drug trafficking who have been reluctant to demobilize.
Nevertheless, the GOC continues to say it will demobilize all
of the remaining 15,000 AUC members before the end of Uribe's
term. The principle AUC groups left to demobilize include:

-- Central Bolivar Bloc (BCB): includes the Liberators of the
South and the Vanquishers of Arauca; powerful in the eastern
plains, the southern Pacific Coast, and the Magdalena River

-- Pacific Bloc: Led by Diego Murrillo; powerful on the coast
of Cauca and Valle del Cauca Department.

-- Centauros Bloc: splintered into at least two groups since
Bloc commander Miguel Arroyave was killed but is still active
in the eastern plains.

-- Northern Bloc: led by Jorge 40; active in Cesar,
Madgalena, and La Guajira Departments.

-- Middle Magdalena Self Defense Forces: led by Ramon Isaza,
who has been reluctant to demobilize given his mistrust of
other AUC commanders.