|09BOGOTA2380||2009-07-28 18:03:00||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Bogota|
VZCZCXYZ0001 RR RUEHWEB DE RUEHBO #2380/01 2091803 ZNR UUUUU ZZH R 281803Z JUL 09 FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9978 INFO RHEHOND/DIR ONDCP WASHINGTON DC RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL//SCJ2/SCJ3/SCJ5// RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC RHMFIUU/DEPT OF STATE AIR WING PATRICK AFB FL
UNCLAS BOGOTA 002380
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The aerial eradication team sprayed 14,380
hectares in June and is on schedule to reach the 100,000 hectare
goal. Accion Social opened up more area to spray in Tumaco, Narino.
Phase II of the manual eradication campaign will end in July and
Phase III will start in mid-August; so far this year, 23,492
hectares have been eradicated - well short of the 70,000 annual
goal. In June, landmine and hostile fire incidents killed two
security personnel, one civilian eradicator and one UN topographer;
so far this year, 21 people have been killed in manual eradication
operations compared to 26 people killed in all of 2008. PCHP flew
62 hours supporting 15 medical evacuation flights that transported
26 patients. Out of 2,710 air tracks over Colombia, the ABD program
did not identify any in June as Unidentified Assumed Suspect. At
indigenous consultations in Narino, the GOC and various indigenous
communities signed an agreement to allow for aerial and manual
eradication in indigenous areas in the northern part of Narino.
Compared to the same time period last year, in 2009 the Ministry of
Defense's demobilization program saw a decrease of 18 percent in FTO
members who chose to demobilize. On June 25-26, the Ministry of
Social Protection, UNODC, National Directorate of Dangerous Drugs,
and NAS Bogota organized a conference to commemorate the
International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking,
discuss the National Household Drug Consumption Survey's results,
and hold panel discussions on the characteristics of different drugs
and their use. Mark Lopes, principal staffer to Senator Robert
Menendez, visited Colombia June 28 - July 3, and walked away with a
better understanding of NAS's "hard side" programs and the CSDI's
integrated approach. Senator Menendez may be planning a visit to
Colombia in August. END SUMMARY.
AERIAL ERADICATION PROGRAM
2. (SBU) As a result of improved weather and decrease in
unscheduled maintenance operations, the aerial eradication team
sprayed 14,380 hectares in June, bringing the total for the year to
46,643 and maintaining the program on schedule to reach the 100,000
hectare calendar goal. The eradication aircraft experienced two
hostile fire incidents during the month, resulting in three impacts;
so far this year, the aircraft experienced twelve hostile fire
incidents with twenty impacts, without injuries or loss of life.
3. (SBU) The GOC Accion Social (AS) manual eradication program has
increased its willingness to coordinate with the NAS Aviation Unit
(NAU) aerial eradication program. Accion Social removed the
majority of the previously instituted, large no-spray areas in
Tumaco, thus increasing hectares that can be sprayed. Macarena's
Integral Consolidation Plan leaders (PCIM in its Spanish acronym)
requested NAS assistance to spray in southern PCIM where the
conditions are too difficult for manual eradication operations.
4. (SBU) CNP continues to consider its long term plans regarding
follow up of AT-802 Mechanic Training. Colombia National Police
(CNP) Air Service Support (ARAVI) agreed to provide to NAU's
eradication team a plan outlining their projections for mid and
upper level maintenance and supervision. Absences due to promotion
schools and vacation plans are interfering with C-208 pilot
training; NAS is coordinating with the CNP to maintain minimum crew
MANUAL ERADICATION PROGRAM
5. (SBU) Phase II of the GOC's 2009 manual eradication campaign
(GME program) will end in late July. Total eradication of coca for
the month of June was 5,651 hectares - bringing the GME program's
year-to-date total to 19,824 hectares. Including eradication
carried out by the Colombian security forces, total coca eradication
through June was 23,492 hectares, well short of the 70,000 manual
eradication goal half-way through the year. Manual eradication
operations are ongoing in 12 departments. For Phase III, scheduled
to begin in August, the DIRAN - responsible for half of the manual
eradication goal - have proposed increasing the number of police
units protecting GMEs to increase the pace of eradication. It is
unclear if DIRAN will have sufficient resources such as
communications and other equipment.
6. (SBU) In June, landmine and hostile fire incidents killed two
security personnel, one civilian eradicator, and one UN topographer
tasked with measuring manual eradication. Through June, 21 people
(16 security personnel and five civilians, including the UN
topographer) have died during this year's manual eradication
operations. In all of 2008, 26 security personnel and civilian
eradicators were killed in manual eradication operations.
7. (SBU) Separate from the GME program, the Colombian Army (COLAR)
and the CNP conducted manual eradication as part of their normal
operations. Through June, COLAR has eradicated 2,621 hectares of
coca, 44 hectares of poppy, and two hectares of marijuana; the CNP
has eradicated 721 hectares of coca, six hectares of poppy, and 44
hectares of marijuana; and the Navy has eradicated 164 hectares of
COLOMBIA NATIONAL POLICE (CNP)
AIR SERVICE (ARAVI) SUPPORT
8. (SBU) ARAVI's NAS-supported fleet flew 1,771 mission hours in
June. The seven UH-60 Black Hawks closed out the month with 167
flight hours and an Operational Readiness (OR) rate of 58 percent.
The damage by enemy fire to one UH-60 will remove it from service
for 30 days. The Bell 212 fleet flew 212 mission hours with an OR
rate of 57 percent. One Bell 212 has yet to be inducted to the
Service Life Extension Program/Rewire. The Huey II flew 894 hours
with a 74 percent OR rate. Four Huey II aircraft, or twelve percent
of the fleet, are currently undergoing depot maintenance repair for
structural faults. The DC-3 fleet flew 176 hours in June, with an
OR rate of 44 percent. Two DC-3s are undergoing a 2,000-hour
inspection. ARAVI expects that the last C-26 Intelligence,
Surveillance, Reconnaissance Aerial Platform (ISRAP) PNC 0224 will
arrive in July.
PLAN COLOMBIA HELICOPTER PROGRAM (PCHP)
9. (SBU) The PCHP aircraft, operating from Tumaco, San Jose, and
Tolemaida, flew a total of 712 hours providing air assaults, air
movements, reconnaissance, medical evacuations, and support missions
for aerial eradication operations, the Counter Drug (CD) Brigade,
and other vetted COLAR units. PCHP supported the capture of High
Value Targets (HVTs) in the Vichada department and a destruction of
gasoline refinery and HCl laboratories in the Narino department.
10. (SBU) PCHP flew 62 hours supporting 15 medical evacuation
flights that transported 26 patients. PCHP helicopters provided
aerial transport and security escort support for the STAFDEL Long
visit to the Narino department, and also supported three Chief of
Mission HVT Joint Task Force operations. COMMENT: This record
number of joint operations reflects an increasing effectiveness of
Colombian intelligence and combined arms forces' projection
capabilities. END COMMENT.
11. (SBU) During June, PCHP provided UH-60 and UH-II aircrew
continuation/mission and aircraft qualification training. Two
COLAR pilots and four standardization gunner instructors received
certification in the advanced crew qualification positions of
Standardization Instructor Pilot and Standardization Maintenance
12. (SBU) Out of 2,710 air tracks over Colombia, the Air Bridge
Denial (ABD) program did not identify any as Unidentified Assumed
Suspect (UAS) in June. Only 17 UAS have been identified during the
first half of this year, compared to 28 for the same time period
last year. The ABD inspectors searched an aircraft in Popayan that
had filed a legal flight plan, but was found to contain 784
kilograms (kgs) of cocaine. The GOC arrested both pilots and
impounded the aircraft. In collaboration with regional
counterparts, ABD passed information on four visually identified
aircraft to the Central American Authorities; one of the identified
aircraft crashed in Honduras attempting to land at night, and the
crew burned another aircraft after landing, escaping capture when
the Honduran Police started closing in on them. ABD's training in
preparation for nationalization proceeded smoothly and maintenance
training reached the 75 percent June 30 target.
13. (SBU) The CNP seized 11.5 metric tons of cocaine hydrochloride
(HCl) and cocaine base, 20.7 metric tons of coca leaf, 13 metric
tons of marijuana, and five kgs of heroin. The CNP also destroyed
10 cocaine HCl and 110 coca base laboratories, and captured 494
metric tons of precursor chemicals.
14. (SBU) On June 6, DIRAN (CNP's Antinarcotics Directorate) Tulua
Junglas (CNP Airmobile Commandos), using two UH60s and two UH-IIs,
destroyed a cocaine HCl laboratory located in a mangrove swamp in
Choco Department. On June 10, the DIRAN Chemical Group captured 13
members of a precursor chemical trafficking organization, five
vehicles, and 12 metric tons of precursor chemicals in Cali. Also
on June 10, at a routine vehicle checkpoint near Ipiales, DIRAN
found 3.5 kgs of heroin taped to the abdomens of two women
passengers. On June 11, the Tulua Junglas destroyed an HCl
laboratory located near Huisito, Cauca (35 miles west of Popayan).
On June 16, DIRAN Zone Five (Northeast Colombia) captured 3.3 metric
tons of marijuana hidden in a cache site near Cucuta, Norte de
Santander. On June 18, DIRAN, in conjunction with the DEA and OFAC,
captured 13 members of Fabio Ochoa's international money laundering
15. (SBU) On June 21, the Tulua Junglas, using two UH60s and one
UH-II, supported a CNP-directed High Value Target (HVT) operation
against the FARC's Manuel Cepeda Vargas Front, headquartered in
Timba, Cauca (30 miles West of Cali). The Colombian Air Force
initiated the attack, but bad weather prevented the follow-on Jungla
airmobile assault from reaching the objective. The CNP then moved
an EMCAR squadron by road/foot to the area. The EMCAR captured four
FARC AK47s. As the EMCAR returned to base, they were ambushed by
the FARC and incurred seven deaths and two injuries. Intelligence
reports reflect that the initial COLAF bombing may have killed the
FARC Front Commander alias "El Enano" and 24 FARC combatants.
16. (SBU) On June 22, the DIRAN Chemical Group seized a truck
carrying 2.5 tons of precursor chemicals near Puerto Lopez, Meta.
On June 26, the DIRAN Special Investigation Unit captured 13 members
of an international narcotrafficking organization, making
simultaneous arrests in Bogota, Pasto, Villavicencio, and Cucuta.
On June 26, the DIRAN Chemical Group captured five tons of precursor
chemicals (thinner and alcohol) at a road checkpoint near
Barranquilla. Also on June 26, the DIRAN, in coordination with the
Colombian Air Force, captured a Piper aircraft at the Popayan
airport transporting 784 kgs of cocaine. On June 29, near the Gulf
of Uraba in Northern Colombia, the newly formed DIRAN Zone Six
(Northwest Colombia) captured a Mexican and a Honduran who were
transporting 1.8 tons of cocaine on a "go-fast" boat.
17. (SBU) The 18-week Jungla International Course graduated 106
students on June 4. The course included 57 Colombian students and
49 foreign students from 12 Latin American countries (Haiti,
Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Belize, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras,
Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Argentina, and Brazil). On June 5, a
DIRAN DC3 flew the 22 Panama Border Police students back to Panama,
where they will form their new Jungla Commando unit deployed to the
Darien. The next Jungla Commando Course will take place July
27-December 3. The CNP anticipate that 70 Colombian students and 70
international students (from 15 Latin American and Caribbean
countries) will attend. This group will also include a second
25-man contingent from the Panama Border Police. The US Army 7th
Special Forces Group (SFG) "Pequenas Unidades" course, focused on
reconnaissance, military mountaineering, and 60mm mortar training,
graduated 45 students. On June 8-12, the 7th SFG taught the U.S.
Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) approved "Fast Rope Master"
course to twenty students from the three Jungla Airmobile Companies.
On June 26, 40 students graduated from the Explosives and
Demolitions Course, including a Panamanian and a Peruvian student.
DIRAN courses currently underway at the Antinarcotics Police
Training Center in Pijaos, Tolima include the 23-week Combat Medic
Course (40 students) and the 15-week Jungla Instructor Course (12
18. (SBU) Cartagena-based Naval Intelligence Group (GRUIN in its
Spanish acronym) seized 530 kgs of cocaine, and captured six members
of "los Paisas" criminal organization, one AK-47, one 9mm pistol,
two 38mm revolvers, and two motorcycles in the vicinity of Magangue,
Bolivar. The Colombian Coast Guard captured seven individuals and
seized 106 kgs of cocaine that were hidden inside a hull of fishing
BASE SECURITY/ROAD INTERDICTION/
19. (SBU) The Bastion Wall contract for the project at San Jose de
Guaviare to install three two-story bunker facilities was completed.
The La Julia project to reinforce the Police base attacked in May
continued despite the constant pressure of FARC elements in the
area. The Miraflores Phase I project begun in March was completed;
phase II of the project will begin in mid-July. The Tierradentro
project begun in May was also completed. Projects in Piedras
Blancas and Belen de Bajira are slated to begin in mid-July.
20. (SBU) Night Vision Device (NVD) advisor and GOC counterparts
inspected 52 of 75 mine detectors to be used in manual eradication
operations and will shortly inspect the remainder.
21. (SBU) DIRAN radio teams deployed to the antinarcotics bases and
sea ports in Santa Marta and San Jose de Guaviare, and to
Barranquilla's port to conduct single channel radio training and
conduct preventive maintenance on radios and computers. DIRAN radio
teams fixed the Motorola repeater in Puerto Estrella, enabling the
forward operating base to communicate with its headquarters in Santa
Marta via radio.
22. (SBU) DIRAN Data team supported the installation of the first
body scan in Cartagena's international airport. Telematica PNC
donated 60 Motorola radios and two Quantar repeaters in support of
the CSDI program in Montes de Maria. Carabineros Directorate
(DICAR) communication teams conducted training and took inventories
in Atlantico, Caqueta, Tolima, Casanare, and Boyaca departments.
PORT SECURITY PROGRAM (PSP)
23. (SBU) In May, DIRAN's Ports and Airports Area (ARPAE) unit
seized 38 kgs of cocaine (bulk weight), 42 kgs of cocaine (net
weight), and arrested two people at the Port of Uraba. At the
airport in Rionegro, ARPAE seized 11.3 kgs of cocaine (bulk weight)
and 0.5 kgs of cocaine (net weight), USD 2,700 non-declared, and
arrested three people. At the airport in Barranquilla, ARPAE seized
2.8 kgs of heroin and USD 2,800 non-declared. At the airport in
Cali - ARPAE seized 6.2 kgs of cocaine; at the airport of Bogota -
210.6 kgs of cocaine (bulk weight), 12 kgs of marijuana, 7.2 kgs of
heroin, 100 fake Euros, fabricated USD 20,000, 47,850 non-declared
euros and USD 6,300 non-declared. Based on information provided by
DIRAN, Mexican authorities seized 512 kgs of cocaine at the Port of
Manzanillo. Canine Units participated in the Cartagena, Bogota and
Uraba port seizures.
24. (SBU) The DIRAN polygraph unit conducted polygraph exams on 54
members of the DIRAN's Interdiction, Aviation and Ports and Airports
Units, as well as on the CNP's Antikidnapping Unit. 36 of those
tested passed the exam, 11 failed, and seven had inconclusive
results. After a quality control review, ICE Polygraph Chief asked
for some of the DIRAN's Polygraph Unit personnel to be re-tested.
25. (SBU) During the week of June 16, NAS, the CNP and other GOC
members traveled to Tumaco, Narino to conduct indigenous
consultations that had originally started in September 2007 and were
delayed due to internal GOC issues. At the consultations, GOC and
various indigenous communities signed an agreement to allow for
eradication in the northern part of Narino. The next set of
consultations is scheduled for July 28-29 in Meta.
26. (SBU) In June, the interagency complaints committee received
157 new claims of alleged spray damage to legal crops; the committee
closed 85 cases. As of June 30, NAS has compensated a total of 144
complainants for approximately USD 626,556. The complaints
committee visited nine sites in Tumaco that alleged that spray had
damaged their legal crops; out of the nine complaints received, four
will be compensated. The committee also paid four USAID complaints.
INDIVIDUAL DEMOBILIZATION PROGRAM
27. (SBU) The Ministry of Defense's (MOD) demobilization program
received more than 1,425 individuals through June 30 - a decrease of
approximately 18 percent compared to the first half of 2008.
Program leadership began a focus group to identify areas for
improvement in an attempt to jump start desertion rates. While FARC
demobilization rates were down, the National Liberation Army's (ELN
in its Spanish acronym) rates increased due in part to a targeted
communications strategy. Large budget shortfalls have been mostly
overcome, allowing the MOD to execute contracts with commercial
radio stations communicating the demobilization message deep into
the countryside. The MOD has re-initiated payments for information
and re-invigorated efforts towards providing psychological
assistance and preventing illegal recruitment.
28. (SBU) More than 60 percent of the demobilized state that their
motivations for desertion are abuse by their commanders or pressure
from military operations, while the rest seek a new way of life or a
different ideological formation. Information provided by
demobilized members of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) is one
of the best sources of intelligence available to security forces.
DRUG DEMAND PREVENTION
29. (SBU) On June 25-26, the Ministry of Social Protection, UNODC,
National Directorate of Dangerous Drugs, and NAS Bogota organized a
day-and-a-half conference to commemorate the International Day
Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, discuss the National
Household Drug Consumption Survey's results, and hold panel
discussions on the characteristics of different drugs and their use.
More than 300 academics, police officers, local government leaders,
and NGO members from some 27 departments attended. The most
poignant discussions took place regarding the perceived increase in
the use of synthetic drugs. On June 27 in Barranquilla, DCM Nichols
observed the "Lions Quest" ("Leones Educando") program in a school
for hearing-impaired children (Leones works in two such schools in
Colombia). NAS Bogota and INL finalized the grant process for
"Leones Educando," awarding the NGO USD 100,000.
30. (SBU) Mark Lopes, principal staffer to Senator Robert Menendez,
visited Colombia June 28 - July 3, and walked away with a better
understanding of NAS programs and the CSDI's integrated approach.
In Tumaco, Mr. Lopes received briefings on aviation assets,
equipment and nationalization issues, and visited a manual
eradication operation. The Mayor of Tumaco, Neftali Correa,
complained to Mr. Lopes about alleged spray of legal crops, however,
the local police commander, Col. Ordonez, gave a different
perspective. In Pijaos, Mr. Lopes observed a jungle live-fire
operation and had a substantive discussion with the CNP and NAS
Jungla advisors on Colombian Army (COLAR) and CNP roles. Mr. Lopes
talked to demobilized members of the FARC and ELN, and met with Gen.
Patino and MOD Special Projects Advisor Ponton. UNODC
representative Aldo Lale-Demoz briefed Mr. Lopes on the progress of
counternarcotics efforts in Colombia. Mr. Lopes was also briefed in
and out of the Embassy on human rights issues. Senator Menendez may
be planning a visit to Colombia in August.