Colombia’s Paramilitary Problem

The CIA has revealed new evidence that the head of Colombia’s American-backed army worked hand-in-hand with right-wing death squads.

Army Chief Gen. Mario Montoya, who collaborated with paramilitaries to murder or disappear Marxist guerillas, is a former instructor at the the School of the Americas, has worked closely with U.S. officials and has recently been organizing a new U.S. funded counter-narcotics task force. Montoya is just another in a long line of high-ranking officials in President Alvaro Uribe’s administration exposed for having ties with groups Washington "officially" considers terrorist organizations.

President Uribe dismissed the allegations. But Human rights organizations don’t share Uribe’s sentiments.

"These allegations are consistent with the record of many Colombian military units, which have historically tolerated and supported paramilitaries," Jose Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at the Washington-based Human Rights Watch, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "Instead of rejecting the allegations out of hand, Uribe should take them seriously and call for a thorough investigation in the civilian justice system."

The CIA intelligence document was reportedly leaked by an anonymous U.S. government employee unhappy with the Bush administration’s refusal to hold the Colombian government accountable.

Remarkably, or then again maybe not, the Washington Post is using the unveiling of the Uribe administration’s ties to right-wing paramilitaries as an example of the Colombian president’s success in fighting the "War on Drugs", rejecting calls to stop aid such as "Plan Colombia" which has been used to fund and collaborate with these terrorist organizations.