NewsWhat does it mean that Petro has named former paramilitary chief Salvatore...

    What does it mean that Petro has named former paramilitary chief Salvatore Mancuso as peace manager?

    Colombian President Gustavo Petro announced on Sunday his decision to appoint former paramilitary chief Salvatore Mancuso, one of the former leaders of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), demobilized in 2006, as peace manager.

    The mandatary he pointed that with this decision it seeks to end the peace process initiated in the government of Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010) with the paramilitaries.

    “The peace process between the Uribe government and the paramilitaries has not yet finished, the whole truth is not yet known. The haciendas delivered in part have been lost in the hands of the State, recycled to new groups that inherited the paramilitaries, many victims’ bodies have not yet been found,” Petro commented.

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    He added that “to finish the process and achieve complete peace“was what decided Mancuso’s appointment.


    The appointment of Mancuso, who was extradited to the United States in 2008 and is still being held in a prison in that country on drug trafficking charges, comes after the former paramilitary chief insistently approached different State authorities, to whom he has offered to efforts to clarify the truth of the Colombian armed conflictin the midst of the “total peace” policy that Petro implements in the South American nation.

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    In October of last year, Mancuso sent a letter to Petro in which he assured him that he was prepared to start a conversation, not only with the president, but also with the High Commissioner for Peace, Danilo Rueda, who is in charge of dialogue and negotiation with the armed organizations.

    “I want to tell you publicly that my conviction and commitment to work from the institutional framework to achieve a definitive peace for Colombia continue to be intact,” the letter said.

    Since his imprisonment in the US, Mancuso also made several statements before the Justice and Peace chambers, which were created after the demobilization of the AUC; and this year he presented his version before the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), a transitional justice mechanism that emerged after the signing of the Peace Accords in 2016, to which Mancuso aspires to submit to receive some judicial benefits.

    In the statements to the JEP, he revealed that Petro and the head of Foreign Relations, Alvaro Leyva, were “military targets” of the defunct Administrative Security Department (DAS). He also exposed that AUC members made “graves in Venezuela”, leaving more than 200 bodies.

    Accept the appointment

    Mancuso, through a new letter sent to Petro, published by Timeaccepted the designation as peace manager.

    “I receive this decision with the same conviction with which it was made, that of working to achieve a total, integral, absolute and lasting peacewhich can be inherited by other generations of Colombians who do not deserve to live what we have clumsily experienced,” the letter reads.

    He added that he will continue to appear before the Justice as he has been doing. “Which means that my commitment to the truth, reparation and non-repetition is indeclinable. Continuing to participate in the Colombian transitional justice system, both judicial and extrajudicial, is a responsibility towards the victims; doing so as a peace manager in political negotiations is a responsibility towards Colombian society to prevent future victims”, he added.

    Likewise, Mancuso pointed out that this will allow him to participate with the Unit for the Search for Persons Deemed Disappeared (UBPD) and the Foreign Ministry in the discovery and identification of bodies on the Colombian-Venezuelan border.

    I’m ready and waiting for the national government to indicate the route to fulfill the assigned tasks,” the former paramilitary chief emphasized in his letter.


    Mancuso served his sentence for drug trafficking in the US in 2020, however, he has not yet been extradited to Colombia, due to a series of considerations and legal appeals filed to stop the process. In the South American country, two sentences are pending for crimes in the context of the conflict, such as homicides, massacres, dispossession of lands and forced displacements.

    To see the scope of Petro’s decision to appoint Mancuso as peace manager, which has generated questions from different sectors, the formal decree that must be issued by the Executive is still missing.

    At the moment, according to a document from the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace in Colombia, a peace manager’s job is “contribute to managing and implementing humanitarian agreements during the dialogue phase” with their respective Organized Armed Group Outside the Law (GAOML).

    The designation, then, is restricted to members of some GAOML and can only be made by the President of the Republic.

    Uribe will sue Mancuso before the courts of Colombia and the US for his accusation before the JEP

    The document explains that through this figure it will be possible to request the competent judicial authorities the suspension of the insurance measuresentence or request an alternative sentence against members or ex-members of these illegal armed groups.

    However, they clarify that the designation It is not about an amnesty or a pardon; Therefore, it does not suspend or put an end to the judicial processes in any case and the managers will have to respond to the competent authorities in case they are required.

    Likewise, it also points out that the State “will not assign wages peace managers, nor will it generate employment contracts”.

    In the case of Mancuso, some questions arise, which are expected to be clarified with the respective appointment decree. According to Petro’s message, the former paramilitary chief would be peace manager for the dialogue process with the AUC which, in the president’s opinion, is still incomplete and there are gaps in terms of truth and material reparation.

    However, these AUC as a formal group no longer exist and have evolved into a variety of armed groups and drug traffickers.

    Currently, the Government is holding meetings with former members of the AUC, with whom it is evaluating the proposals of that demobilized paramilitary group in the Petro’s “total peace” process.

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    Source: RT

    This post is posted by Awutar staff members. Awutar is a global multimedia website. Our Email: [email protected]


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