|Lifting the Veil on Colombia's "Emerald Czar"|
|Written by Michael Evans|
|Sunday, 30 December 2012 18:45|
Declassified Cable Links Víctor Carranza's Alias to 1997 Miraflores Massacre
Source: The National Security Archive
An individual using the reported alias of Colombian billionaire Víctor Carranza Niño “freely admitted” that “he and men under his command” were “responsible for the October 1997 Miraflores massacre” and that the Colombian Army “had facilitated the operation ‘from beginning to end,’” according to a formerly-Secret cable from the U.S. Embassy in Colombia. The document was published today by the National Security Archive as part of a special Web posting on the man widely-known as the “Emerald Czar.” The declassified collection is also the subject of a column published below and in Spanish on the Web site of Semana magazine and VerdadAbierta.com.
The December 1997 report, titled, “Mapiripán and Miraflores: Increased Signs of Army Facilitation of Paramilitaries,” attributes the confession to “Clodomiro Agami,” an alias strikingly similar to the one said to have been used by Carranza. Earlier this year, detained former paramilitary chief Freddy Rendón Herrera (“El Alemán”), told prosecutors from Colombia’s Justice and Peace tribunal that Carranza was a longtime paramilitary supporter and one of the co-founders, in 1997, of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), under the alias “Clodomiro Agámez.”
Paramilitary gunmen murdered 12 people and displaced hundreds more during the three-day operation in Miraflores, which targeted presumed supporters of a leftist guerrilla group. The massacre was part of a coordinated AUC military offensive to project power outside of traditional strongholds and take control of the country's lucrative narcotics business.
“Clodomiro” said that members of the Colombian Army “had been fully aware in advance of his plans and activities in Miraflores,” according to the cable, and that the Army “was so infiltrated by paramilitaries and their supporters that he and his colleagues felt no concern about ever being arrested.” “Clodomiro” and his forces “were always warned in advance of any possibility of capture.” The Embassy identifies “Agami” as “the head of the ‘Llanos Orientales’ [Eastern Plains] paramilitaries.”
The 77-year-old Carranza is currently under investigation by the Colombian prosecutor’s office on allegations that he organized and financed paramilitary groups in the Llanos Orientales responsible for numerous massacres and assassinations over several decades. The probe was spurred by the confessions of “El Alemán” and at least half a dozen former commanders of the AUC, who have implicated Carranza in decades of paramilitary violence.
The other declassified documents published today also portray Carranza as a behind-the-scenes paramilitary financier and organizer with ties to narcotics trafficking and the Colombian security forces.