The former leaders of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia and the FARC guerrillas gave their version of events in their participation in the Colombian conflict .
With transmission of their YouTube channel, Salvatore Mancuso (former leader of the AUC) and Timoleón Jiménez “TImochenko” (former leader of the FARC) answered several questions posed by the commissioners. Photo: YT-Truth Commission
LatiAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández
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Leer en español: Los momentos más relevantes de “Mancuso” y “Timochenko” en la Comisión de la Verdad
On Wednesday August 4, the Truth Commission, a body created by the peace treaty between the Colombian government and the FARC, held one of its most important meetings. With a broadcast from their YouTube channel, Salvatore Mancuso (former AUC leader) and Timoleón Jiménez “Timochenko” (former FARC leader) answered several questions posed by the commissioners.
Among the most relevant moments, was the intervention or participation of several victims. Through videos, relatives and victims of the Colombian conflict sent messages to those who a few years ago were their perpetrators.
"On behalf of all the victims of Huila and on behalf of all the councilors murdered in Rivera 15 years ago, we want the truth."
“It is of the utmost importance for us as associations to listen to each other, because that will indicate to us that our struggle since 1997 has not been in vain. May our dreams be fulfilled and may we live and our generation grow up in a healthier environment. This process and the fight for a better Colombia, I imagine that it is advancing because you are willing to contribute your grain of sand to make this better ”.
"Let no one suffer what my family had to suffer." They were several of the messages sent by some representatives of the hundreds of thousands of victims of the armed conflict.
Among the highlights expressed by the former armed leaders, the accusations of how the Self-Defense Forces were formed, the explanation for the guerrilla takeovers, and the author of the extermination of the leaders of the UP (political party, Patriotic Union) stand out.
Mancuso accepted that the self-defense groups were in charge of assassinating political leaders in the regions with the sole intention of "rendering the Colombian State ungovernable." Additionally, he accepted that they obtained arms from Bulgaria and Central America and that they sometimes exchanged them for drugs with drug traffickers.
“The Convivir play an extremely important role. This role of the Convivir and of the political commissars allows us to create the self-defense groups at the national level and is the way in which we make a gear between legal self-defense that is the Coexistence protected by the State, with State rifles and State weapons. ; serve as a hinge, as a link between the institutionality and illegal self-defense, ”said the former leader of the northern bloc of the AUC. In addition, Mancuso said that “that Convivir, I am asked to create the northern block. And I am going to a meeting with General Iván Ramírez, with the Governor of Córdoba, with Carlos Castaño, I was […] and there are other living people who participated in the meeting ”.
For his part, the former guerrilla leader explained that they had no foreign funding. “Everywhere they closed doors on us. The story that everything came to us from Moscow, the story that they sent us dollars from Cuba, is a myth. I wish it had been true, ”Timochenko said.
Salvatore Mancuso also criticized that the justice to which he submitted (Justicia y Paz) did not identify illegal patterns committed by the State: “you saw that in Justicia y Paz a macro criminal pattern of False Positives was not identified (extrajudicial executions by of the State). You see that Justice and Peace did not identify a macro criminal pattern of pacts and alliances between members of the State and the Self-Defense Forces. And we have told it all, in principle. but see the limitations. And that means that the consequences are not assumed by the State, because if they are assumed, they have immense political, international and national legal consequences ”.
He also accepted the support of the State in various events: "I stopped being Salvatore Mancuso and became Santander Lozada and began to have agreements with the institutions, the Army, DAS, Police, even with Public Prosecutors involved in the cause of self-defense." Mancuso said In addition to accusing the State of having been the perpetrators of the extermination of the Patriotic Union: "the UP was not exterminated by the self-defense groups, its perpetrator was the State."
He also confessed that they controlled the universities of the Caribbean Coast. “We take all the public universities on the coast. We saw that ideologues of the guerrillas came from there. We came to take over the universities, not for the looting of resources, but to avoid that control that the guerrillas had in the universities ”, accepted Mancuso.
Finally, both Mancuso and Timochenko accepted the mistakes made by both groups and repented of various acts committed against the civilian population. “One of the wrong decisions was to attack the war holders, which led us to terrible crimes such as the assassination of Guillermo Gaviria and his peace adviser. We affected a movement that did a very important job for non-violence ”, confessed Timoleón Jiménez.
“We are on this path for the victims. We are doing our best for non-repetition. This is an important moment, we are seeing the fruits of what we agreed to in Havana, ”said the former guerrilla leader.