Wednesday, August 19, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC: Colombia arrests ex-security head

New information about the killing has recently come to light, after a paramilitary leader stated that the assassination had been carried out with the complicity of the Das.

Investigations by the attorney general’s office uncovered allegations that Gen Maza had changed Mr Galan’s head of security just before the assassination, replacing an experienced officer with a relative novice, and reduced the protection detail from 15 to just five agents.

The attorney general’s office has not explained why Gen Maza would work with the Medellin Cartel or want Mr Galan dead.

Wow (such was my initial reaction upon reading the story).

For those who are unfamiliar (i.e., most readers I would expect), Luis Carlos Galán was a candidate for president of Colombia who was gunned down at a campaign rally just outside of Bogotá almost exactly 20 years ago (indeed, the anniversary of his death was yesterday). He was a reform-minded member of the Liberal Party who was practically a shoe-in to win the 1990 election. He was considered by many in Colombia to be an extraordinary politician of the type who inspires a certain level of hope in the population. Of all the assassinations and murders in Colombian history, of which there are a horrendous number, two are perhaps the most prominent: the murder of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán on April 9, 1948, which sparked riots in Bogotá and is normally considered the beginning of the civil war know as La Violencia and the killing of Galán. The best analogy to the US (and like all analogies, has its flaws), is the assassination of President Kennedy. Neither man was president, but both were thought to one day be president (Gaitán would have run in 1950 and would likely have won).

Galán’s murder has long been linked to the Medellín Cartel and its leader, Pablo Escobar, but there has never been legal closure on the issue to my recollection. The 1990 presidential campaign was an especially bloody one, with three candidates being assassinated.

That the DAS chief may have been involved is simultaneously shocking and credible. Shocking because we are talking here about the main internal security apparatus of the Colombian state. Credible because we have already seen in recent years the penetration of the DAS by those with links to paramilitary organizations. And given the the Medellín Cartel had linkages to the early development of paramilitary groups (like MAS, i.e, “Death to Kidnappers”) as well as to some of the founding fathers (if you will) of the current paramilitary movement (e.g., the Castaño brothers), then these connections (Cartel-paramilitary-DAS) are hardly unreasonable (especially when one throws in the money that was being tossed around by Escobar and friends at the time).

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2 Responses to “Former DAS Head Arrested Regarding Galan Assassination – #Colombia”

  • el
  • pt
    1. Fruits and Votes » Prof. Shugart's Blog » New information in Galan assassination Says:

      [...] Steven Taylor notes that there is new information concerning the assassination of Colombian presidential “pre-candidate” Luis Carlos Galán, which took place twenty years ago yesterday. [...]

    2. Mora Says:

      The Colombians I know speculate that Maza was in league with Gaviria and wanted the latter to become president. Killing off Galan was the way to do it. That would probably mean blood on Gaviria’s hands, something Uribe would be glad to prove – hence, the arrest.

      The other alternative is that Maza was in league with the Cali cartel which sought political influence, bought off a president (Samper) and would have found Maza on the payroll a useful thing. It’s not that implausible, given that there have been accusations that Cali compromised Col. Martinez (who was believed by ‘Killing Pablo’ author Mark Bowden to have used Cali’s info and thugs to gun down Medellin’s Pablo Escobar, who was the Cali cartel’s top rival.)

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