“WHO KILLED JAIME GARZON?
Document Points to Military/Paramilitary Nexus in Murder of Popular Colombian Comedian
Garzón Had Been “Deeply Troubled” by Meeting with Senior Army Officer
Ongoing Impunity in 12-year-old Case Spurs Inter-American Commission Complaint
For more information contact:
Michael Evans – 202/994-7029
“Washington, D.C., September 29, 2011 – Twelve years after the assassination of beloved Colombian journalist and political satirist Jaime Garzón, a newly-declassified State Department cable, published on the Web today by the National Security Archive (www.nsarchive.org), supports longstanding allegations that Colombian military officials ordered the killing. Written just days after the murder, the cable from the U.S. Embassy in Colombia says that Garzón “had been killed by paramilitaries in league with ‘loose cannon’ active or retired members of the security forces.”
One of Colombia’s most popular television personalities, Garzón was also a high-profile advocate for government talks with leftist rebel groups when he was gunned down on August 13, 1999. Carlos Castaño, top leader of an illegal right-wing militia known as the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), was convicted in absentia of masterminding the plot in 2001 but was never brought to justice and is now presumed dead. Castaño remains the only individual ever sentenced in the case, though the involvement of Colombian security forces has long been suspected.
The document published today is among key evidence cited by lawyers representing Garzón’s family who are seeking to hold the Colombian state responsible for his murder. Last month, human rights attorneys from the Colectivo de Abogados “José Alvear Restrepo” and the Comisión Colombiana de Juristas jointly requested a hearing on the Garzón case before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR).
Of particular interest in the newly-declassified cable is the revelation that retired general Rito Alejo del Río Rojas may have lied in a 2001 declaration before Colombian prosecutors when he denied that he had ever met Garzón. Quite the contrary, the embassy report says that Del Río “upbraided” Garzón when the two met to discuss his efforts to restart peace negotiations with the ELN guerrilla group. The embassy’s confidential source said that Garzón “came away from the meeting very troubled by the depths of the anger that Del Río vented.”
“The general lied to the Prosecutor General’s office, and the question is why,” said Rafael Barrios, a lawyer from the Colectivo de Abogados.
To read the document, and for a detailed rundown of recent media coverage, check out today’s posting at the Archive’s website – http://www.nsarchive.org”
(Quelle: National Security Archive.)