20 Years Ago — Colombian Peace Activist Jaime Garzón Murdered in Bogotá [August 13 1999]

“Uribe was considered untouchable and all-powerful until yesterday. This marks a very important precedent.”

Colombian lawmaker Ivan Cepeda (July 25 2018)

“Álvaro Uribe is a very dangerous individual.”

Jaime Garzon

“Lo que nos enseñan a los colombianos no tiene nada que ver con las necesidades que tenemos los colombianos”.

Jaime Garzon

Jaime Hernando Garzón Forero (October 24, 1960 – assassinated August 13, 1999 in Bogotá)

August 13 2019 — Jaime Garzón was a Colombian comedian, journalist, politician, and peace activist. Garzón was assassinated on the streets of Bogotá 20 years ago. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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Garzón was popular on colombian television during the 1990s for his political satire. In addition to his work on television, he also had roles as a peace negotiator in the release of FARC guerrillas’ hostages.

He was murdered on August 13 1999 by right-wing paramilitary hitmen, with suspected support from members of the Colombian military and security services, according to testimonies of former paramilitaries commanders.

The case remained open and unsolved for almost two decades.

On August 14 2018, Jose Miguel Narvaez — a former deputy director of the disbanded Colombian intelligence agency the Administrative Department of Security (DAS for its Spanish acronym) — was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the murder of Colombian journalist Jaime Garzon.

According to the investigations, Narvaez used his close relationship to former paramilitary chief Carlos Castaño Gil to request the murder of Garzon, who Narvaez considered an ally of now demobilized Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN).

After a two-year trial, the court contended that there was sufficient testimony to prove Narvaez’s participation in Garzon’s execution.

Narvaez was appointed as DAS Deputy Director by former president Alvaro Uribe.

In 2011, after a scandal for illegal wiretapping during the government of former president and current senator Alvaro Uribe, former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced the dissolution of the DAS and its replacement by the National Intelligence Agency.

According to the recent testimony of people who worked for the Uribe family in the 1990s, a ranch owned by former Colombian president Álvaro Uribe Vélez and other members of his family was the operational base of a deadly paramilitary group.

The new evidence, which was reviewed by the National Security Archive, was the subject of an investigation published by The New York Times in July 2018.

In 1991, US Intelligence listed Alvaro Uribe as one of the most important Narco-trafficker and documents show that the US embassy knew that the Medellin cartel had financed his political career.

On July 25 2018, former President Alvaro Uribe resigned his Senate seat to face a bribery and fraud investigation in the Supreme Court.

Uribe’s brother — Santiago — is currently on trial for allegedly heading a paramilitary group in North Antioquia during the early 1990s that became known as the “12 Apostles”.

The group is considered to be responsible for over 500 murders and disappearances during this period.

COLOMBIA: POPULAR SATIRIST JAIME GARZON SHOT DEAD

Two gunmen on a motorcycle shot Garzon in the head as the popular comic neared the offices of Radionet, an all-news network. The assailants immediately fled the scene.

The murder happened as Jaime Garzon drove to work at Radionet, one of Bogota’s top radio stations. Witnesses said two gunmen on motorcycles drove by his car and shot him in broad daylight.

Garzon had worked to achieve peace with leftist rebels. As part of those efforts, he had at times in recent months served as an intermediary between leftist rebels and families of kidnap victims.

Garzon had even offered to help work for the liberation of police officers held by rebels.

The Radionet network said the leader of Colombia’s largest right-wing death squad, Carlos Castano, had claimed responsibility for the attack.

REFERENCES

Colombia: Ex-Intelligence Officer Convicted for Journalist’s Murder — Telesur

Jaime Garzón: The day the laughter stopped — The Bogota Post (August 13 2019)

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Colombia — Former Intelligence Director Convicted for Journalist Murder

20 Years Ago — Colombian Peace Activist Jaime Garzón Murdered in Bogotá [August 13 1999]

 

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