Colombian army camo

Colombian army camo DEFAULT

The National Army of Colombia (Spanish language: Ejército Nacional de Colombia ) is the land military force of the government of Colombia and the largest service of the Colombian Armed Forces. It has the responsibility for land-based military operations along with the Infanteria de Marina (Naval Infantry) to protect the Colombian state against domestic or foreign threats.

The modern Colombian Army has its roots in the Ejército de los Comuneros or Army of the Commoners which was formed on August 7, 1819, before the establishment of the present day Colombia to meet the demands of the Revolutionary War against the Spanish Empire.

That same day, the Congress of Angostura created the Greater Colombian Army after the triumph over the Spanish, to replace the disbanded Commoners Army. However, the Colombian Army considers itself to be an evolution of the Commoners Army, and thus dates its inception from its origins.

History[]

The Colombian Army trace its history back to the 1770s and 1780s, when the comuneros (Commoners) (mostly descendants of Spanish and Amerindians) decided to separate from the Spanish Empire to create their own country and initiated a revolutionary war. The Greater Colombian Army is consolidated on August 7, 1819 by defeating the Spaniards at Boyacá in the Battle of Boyacá under the command of Simon Bolivar. Since then the Colombian Army has been the biggest organization in Colombia.

The military reform carried out by General Rafael Reyes Prieto in the year 1907 marked the professionalization of the Colombian Armed Forces.

Recent History[]

See also: Colombian armed conflict (1960s–present)

File:Colarmyminesweep.png

The Colombian Army is present at war with leftist rebels of the FARC, ELN and EPL, as well as other minor groups. Throughout the war, military personnel have usually maintained a level of professionalism.

Members of the military have been accused or condemned for collaborating with the activities of right wing paramilitaries, such as the AUC and others. The BBC and other sources have reported on cases of corruption in the military, as well as other scandals.

The United States government approved the Plan Colombia initiative. Part of the resources provided by this initiative would be directed to the support of the Colombian Army by strengthening its combat and logistics capabilities.

The Colombian Army is led by the President of Colombia (a civilian) and directed as well by a (four sun) General.

The training of Colombian soldiers is world recognized due to its demanding features. The promotional courses (courses that the candidate has to take in order to be promoted to a higher rank) are usually tough and physically demanding.

A "Lancero" training course in counterinsurgency warfare is held in Tolemaida, 150 miles (240 km) from Bogotá, where temperatures range between 85 and 100 degrees F. (29.5-38 degrees C.) throughout the year. The course, which has been called the toughest in the world, is run by the Colombian army with U.S. military instructors also playing a role. According to Paris Match (no. 2964, March 9–15, 2006) the course lasts 73 days and trains Bolivian, Ecuadorean, and Panamanian troops as well as Colombian soldiers; some French and American soldiers are also trained there.[2] The course, founded in 1955, derives from the Ranger program of the US Army. Reportedly, severe techniques and live ammunition are used. Because of its exceptional nature, the course has gained international prestige.

Military overseas operations[]

The Colombian National Army deployed soldiers in the Sinai as part of the United Nations Emergency Force between 1956 and 1967.[3] Since 1980 it has supplied one battalion ('COLBATT') to the Multinational Force and Observers there. This is not a UN operation, due to Cold War manoeuvring. It has also joined forces many times with different armies around the world under the UN mandate.

Colombia is also planning to send around 100 troops to support Spain in the ISAF in Afghanistan.(The troops would also be under Spain's command.)

Organization[]

Major units[]

Divisions[]

Colombian Army Divisions are static Regional Commands

File:Ejército4.jpg
  • Primera division ejercito de Colombia logo.png1st Division (Santa Marta) - Its jurisdiction covers the Northern Region of Colombia in which there are the departments of Cesar, La Guajira, Magdalena, Sucre, Bolívar and Atlántico. 2nd Mechanized and 10th Armored brigades.
  • Segunda Division Coat.svg2nd Division (Bucaramanga) - Its jurisdiction covers the north eastern Colombia in which there are the departments of Norte de Santander, Santander and Arauca. 5th Infantry, 30th Infantry and 23rd Mobile brigades.
  • Tercera Division Coat.svg3rd Division (Cali) - Its jurisdiction covers the South West of Colombia in which there are the Departments of Nariño, Valle del Cauca, Cauca, Caldas, Quindio, Risaralda and the southern part of the Chocó. 3rd, 8th, 23rd and 29th Infantry brigades.
  • Cuarta Division Coat.svg4th Division (Villavicencio) - Its jurisdiction covers the eastern region of Colombia in which there are the departments of Meta, Guaviare, and part of Vaupés. 7th Infantry, 22nd Infantry and 31st Jungle Infantry brigades.
  • 5th Division (Bogota) - Its jurisdiction covers the Central Region of Colombia in which there are the departments of Cundinamarca, Boyaca, Huila and Tolima. 1st Infantry, 6th Infantry, 8th Mobile, 9th Infantry and 13th Infantry brigades.
  • Sexta Division Coat.svg6th Division (Florencia) - Its jurisdiction covers the southern region of Colombia in which there are the departments of Amazonas, Caquetá, Putumayo and southern Vaupés. 12th Infantry, 13th Mobile, 26th Jungle and 27th Jungle brigades.
  • 7th Division (Medellin) - Its jurisdiction covers the western region of Colombia in which there are the departments of Cordoba, Antioquia, and part of the Chocó. 4th, 11th, 14th, 15th and 17th Infantry and 11th Mobile Brigades
  • 8th Division (Yopal) - Its jurisdiction covers the northeastern region of Colombia: the Departments of Casanare, Arauca, Vichada, Guainía, and the municipalities of Boyaca of Cubará, Pisba, Paya, Labranzagrande and Pajarito. 16th, 18th, 28th, and the 5th Mobile Brigade.

Other Units[]

  • Mobile Medical Command with 3 Battalions
  • Military and Institutes Brigade
  • 19th Cadet Brigade with 3 battalions
  • Army Aviation with 135 helicopters and aircraft.
  • Army Commando Battalion

Combat Arms[]

Logis.ejc.jpg
  • Infantería (Infantry)
  • Caballería (Cavalry)
  • Artillería (Artillery)
  • Ingenieros (Engineers)
  • Inteligencía (Intelligence)
  • Comunicaciones (Communications)
  • Cuerpo Logístico y Administrativo (Logistics and Administrative Corps)
  • Aviación (Army Aviation)

Special Units[]

The Colombian Army has created new programs in order to fight terrorist guerrillas that during the last 40 years have fought a war to overthrow the Colombian government. They are highly trained, specially selected Colombian Army soldiers. They do special recon operations to find and expel Colombian terrorists hideouts.

Rapid Deployment Force[]

  • The Rapid Deployment Force or Fuerza de Despliegue Rápido abr. FUDRA, was created as a modern quick reaction force to deploy to different regions and to all types of weather. Currently, its function is to solely carry out offensive operations against insurgents or outlaws.

Anti-Narcotics Brigade[]

  • Anti-Narcotics Brigade (Brigada Anti-Narcoticos). This unit was specifically activated for operations against the trafficking of narcotics. It was created on December 8, 2000 and has its main headquarters in the Guaviare Department.

Air Assault Aviation Division[]

  • The Colombian National Army Aviation or División de Aviación Asalto Aéreo del Ejército, is an aviation branch that works autonomously from the Colombian Air Force. It's part of the Colombian Army and its main mission is to support the army's ground operations. The unit has recently focused in the security of the Colombian border and Colombia's sovereignty.
    This Unit was created on September 7 of 1916 and it is managed by the Colombian.

AFEUR unit[]

The Agrupación de Fuerzas Especiales Antiterroristas Urbanas (Urban Counter-Terrorism Special Forces Group, AFEUR) is an elite unit of the Colombian Army, whose primary mission is to perform counter-terrorist operations and hostage rescues based on stealth, surprise and team work.

VIP protection is another task of the unit. For example, they protect the Colombian President when he travels, and provided protection for President Bill Clinton's (Army group) and President George W. Bush's visits to Cartagena, in 2000 and 2004 respectively. They also provided the second security ring to Bush's visit to Bogotá in 2007.

This unit answers directly to the Commando General de las Fuerzas Armadas (Armed Forces Joint Staff), and they are allowed to use any military air transportation to guarantee mobility, and to use any weapon or additional equipment as required to accomplish their missions.

AFEUR won the "Fuerzas Comando 2005" (Commando Forces 2005) contest, that took place in Chile in June 2005 lasting two weeks.

This yearly contest sponsored by the US South Command and the US Special Operations Command with similar teams from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, U.S., Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Dominican Republic, Peru and Uruguay.

AFEUR also won the 2006 and 2007 versions of this contest.

Special Forces Brigade[]

  • Colombian National Army Special Forces Brigade

GAULA groups[]

GAULA is an acronym for Grupos de Acción Unificada por la Libertad Personal, i.e. Unified Action Groups for Personal Liberty, specialising in solving hostage-taking. These are elite units established in 1996 exclusively dedicated to the combating of kidnapping and extortion. They are composed of highly qualified personnel who conduct hostage rescues and dismantling of criminal gangs at the root of crimes which compromise the personal freedom of Colombians. There is an inter-institutional element in GAULA guaranteeing self-checking procedures, trained by staff of the Administrative Security Department, the Technical Investigation Corps (CTI) of the Criminal Investigation Bureau ( Fiscalía) and military forces. Currently, the country has 16 GAULA of the Colombian National Army and 2 of the Navy.

Schools and Courses[]

Courses[]

  • Cursos de Capacitación y Especialización de las Armas y Servicios (Arms and Services Capacitation and Specialization Courses)
  • Especialidades de Combate (Combat Specialities)
    • Lancero
    • Contraguerrilla
    • Paracaidista (airborne)
    • Fuerzas Especiales (Special Forces)
    • Desempeño Meritorio en Unidades Especiales (Meritorious Conduct in Special Units)
    • Others combat specialities:
      • Intelligence
      • Special Land Commandos
      • Urban Commando
      • Urban Counter-guerrilla
      • Psychological Operations
      • Military Police
  • Profesorado Militar (Military Professorate)
  • Por Acción Contra el Enemigo (For Actions against the Enemy)
  • Desempeño Profesional y Deportivo (Sports and Professional Achievements)

Military educational institutions[]

  • Colombian Military Academy "General José María Córdova"
  • Colombian Army NCO School "Sergeant Inocencio Chinca"
  • Army Arms and Services School
  • Army Infantry School
  • Army Cavalry School
  • Army Artillery School
  • Military Engineering School
  • Army Communications School
  • Army Logistics School
  • Colombian Army Military Police School
  • School of Civil-Military Relations
  • Army Equestrian School
  • Army Aviation School
  • Army International Missions Support School
  • Army Human Rights and International Rights School
  • Army School of Languages

Army Equipment[]

Question book-new.svg

This article does not contain any citations or references. Please improve this article by adding a reference. For information about how to add references, see Template:Citation.

|date= }}

Land Vehicles[]

Pistols[]

Assault Rifles[]

Submachine Guns[]

Machine Guns[]

Grenade Launchers[]

Artillery[]

Anti Armour[]

Air defense systems and anti-aircraft artillery[]

  • Mistral (missile)
  • Baterías AA Eagle Eye
  • Sistemas Oerlikon
  • bofors M1
  • M-55 AAA
  • M-8/M-55

Aircraft[]

Main article: Colombian National Army Aviation

Uniforms[]

Teg.ejc

Historic uniform on LT Gómez Paris

Pixelado

Image of modern camouflage currently worn by the Colombian army.

Desierto

Camouflage for desert operations.


Since 2006 the National Army of Colombia changed its uniform type forest (woodland) by a modern design featuring a new digital camouflage pattern is called a pixel.

There are 2 types of camouflage, jungle camouflage that is used by most of the army and the desert camouflage that is used by troops in the department of La Guajira and the Colombia Battalion in the Sinai peninsula in the International Watching Forces.

The changes provide greater comfort to the troops, while the material used allows even for the application of mosquito repellent to prevent mosquito bites and a high percentage of the concentration of bacteria and odors.

The design of camouflage texture, color and design is unique to the Colombian army. It is locally made and its distribution is controlled so that only Colombia's military forces can use it.

Personnel[]

Ranks & Insignias[]

Further information: Military ranks of the Colombian Armed Forces and Military ranks of the Colombian Armed Forces/Army

The tables below display the rank structures and rank insignias for the Colombian Army personnel.[15][16]

See also[]

Notes[]

  1. 1.01.1Colombia is not a member of NATO, so there is not an official equivalence between the Colombian military ranks and those defined by NATO. The displayed parallel is approximate and for illustration purposes only.

References[]

  1. ↑LOGROS DE LA POLÍTICA DE CONSOLIDACIÓN DE LA SEGURIDAD DEMOCRÁTICA –PCSD Febrero 2009 page 81
  2. ↑http://www.ufppc.org/content/view/4421/
  3. ↑http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/dpko/co_mission/unef1facts.html
  4. ↑Colombia selects the Oshkosh Sandcat - Armyrecognition.com, December 20, 2012
  5. ↑Colombian Army Acquires 28 Additional ASV Armored Personnel Carriers - Deagel.com, 22 August 2013
  6. ↑El Ejército de Colombia adquiere un nuevo Hunter TR-12 para el Departamento de Huila - Infodefensa.com, 17 July 2013
  7. ↑General Dynamics Awarded $65 Million by the Colombian Ministry of National Defence for Light Armoured Vehicles - General Dynamics press release, January 10, 2013
  8. ↑http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?t=101686&page=46
  9. ↑http://www.aerospace-index.com/images/denel/denelnewslettersept06.pdf
  10. 10.010.1World Air Forces 2013 - Flightglobal.com, pg 13, December 11, 2012
  11. Air Forces Monthly. Stamford, Lincolnshire, England: Key Publishing Ltd. April 2013. pp. 31. 
  12. 12.012.1Colombian Army receives two new S-70i helicopters - Janes.com, 4 September 2013
  13. Air Forces Monthly. Stamford, Lincolnshire, England: Key Publishing Ltd. April 2013. pp. 30. 
  14. ↑Colombia; US donates ScanEagle UAV's to FAC - Dmilt.com, March 19, 2013
  15. ↑Congreso de la República de Colombia (28 July 2010). "Ley 1405 de 2010 Nuevos Grados Militares" (in Spanish). http://www.secretariasenado.gov.co/senado/basedoc/ley/2010/ley_1405_2010.html. Retrieved 26 April 2011. 
  16. ↑Ejército de Colombia (15 March 2011). "Grados y distintivos del Ejército" (in Spanish). http://www.ejercito.mil.co/?idcategoria=232931. Retrieved 26 April 2011. 

External links[]

Sours: https://military.wikia.org/wiki/National_Army_of_Colombia

Colombia

Camopedia24.jpg

Colombia.gif

Republic of Colombia

The region today known as the Republic of Colombia (República de Colombia) was originally inhabited by the indigenous Muisca, Quimbaya, and Tairona peoples. When the Spanish arrived in 1499 they initiated a period of conquest and colonization resulting in the creation of the Viceroyalty of New Granada (comprising modern-day Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, the northwest region of Brazil and Panama) with its capital in Bogotá. Independence from Spain was won in 1819, but by 1830 the region then known as Gran Colombia had collapsed with the secession of Venezuela and Ecuador. What is now Colombia and Panama emerged as the Republic of New Granada. The new nation experimented with federalism as the Granadine Confederation (1858), and then after a two-year civil war the United States of Colombia (1863), before the Republic of Colombia was finally declared in 1886. The Thousand Days War (1899 to 1902) was another civil conflict within the nation, pitting the ruling Conservative Party against the Liberal Party and its radical factions. The Conservative party came out victorious, but they did not prevent the secession of Panama in 1903 under pressure to fulfill financial responsibilities towards the United States government to build the Panama Canal.

The period of the 1940s and 1950s was wracked by violence between the Liberal and Conservative parties again, with several guerilla groups emerging during this period - most notably the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) and Movimiento 19 de Abril (M-19) - all of whom were dominated by Marxist doctrines. Additionally, powerful drug cartels would emerge during the 1980s and 1990s, most supported by their own paramilitary organizations. The country has continued to struggle against he effects of the illegal drug trade and political insurgencies.

The Military Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Militares de Colombia) consist of three primary services: Ejército Nacional de Colombia (Army), Armada Nacional de Colombia (Navy - including Marines and Coast Guard), and the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana (Air Force). Together the three services comprise nearly 300,000 active duty personnel. The Policia Nacional (National Police) are a true gendarmerie, and have been heavily involved in both counter-insurgency and counter-narcotics operations.

Colombian Camouflage Patterns

  • The earliest Colombian camouflage pattern was a duck hunter design based around the original US m1942 spot pattern of the Second World War. Introduced in the 1970s, variations of the pattern were worn by all branches of the armed forces until the early 1990s. There have been several versions produced, some predominantly tan and some predominantly green, although due to production standards it is more correct to define the pattern in terms of a wide spectrum of variations. Colloquially the pattern is known as Tigrillo, which is the same for a spotted leopard (Oncilla) that inhabits South America.

Colombia1.jpgColombia2.jpgColombia3.jpgColombia10.jpg

  • Beginning in the early 1990s, the Colombian Armed Forces universally adopted a copy of the m81 woodland camouflage pattern, gradually phasing out the former duck hunter spot pattern. As with the earlier camouflage, production standards and different manufacturers have produced several minor variations over the years.

Colombia4.jpgColombia5.jpgColombia6.jpg

  • Special Mountain Warfare units of the Army, the Unidades de Alta Montaña del Ejército, did at one point in the 1990s wear a variation of the woodland camouflage design having a grey/black colorway with a white background.

Colombia9.jpg

  • A special unit of the Army, the Comandos Urbanos (urban commandos), have deployed in a grey-dominant variation of the standard US m81 woodland camouflage design, seen below.

Haiti1.jpg

  • Following in the footsteps of Canada and the United States, in 2006 Colombia adopted its own pixelated camouflage designs in both a woodland/temperate and a desert version. These are referred to colloquially as camflado pixelado and will gradually replace the old woodland camouflage design.

Colombia8.jpgColombia11.jpg

  • The pixelated design seen here is in use with units of the Colombian Air Force, and incorporates a unique overprint feature that makes the design appear to have mesh over it. The colorway incorporates two shades each of grey and olive green with black patches interspersed throughout. This pattern appears to have been adopted circa 2015.

Colombia13.jpg

  • Also introduced circa 2015 for the Comando de Infanteria de Marina or Marine Infantry Command, is a pixelated design similar to that adopted by the Air Force. The Marine design incorporates shades of forest green, black, and khaki on a very light sand-colored background.

Colombia12.jpg

  • The National Agency responsible for incarceration and rehabilitation of convicted criminals in Colombia is the Instituto Nacional Penitenciario y Carcelario (INPEC), or National Penitentiary and Prison Institute. Members of this organization wear a woodland-derivative camouflage design incorporating, black, dark brown and olive green shapes on a pinkish-khaki background.

Inpec1.jpg

  • More recently, INPEC personnel have been documented wearing a pixelated camouflage design with a blue colorway, as seen here. This design is worn concurrently with the brown pattern seen above, but may be replacing it ultimately.

Colombia14.jpg

  • In 2020 the Colombian Navy announced it would be adopting a new pixelado camouflage pattern for the Marine Infantry Command (CIMAR), gradually phasing out the pattern adopted in 2015. A report issued in 2018 indicated that the older design did not allow wearers to adequately blend into the natural jungle and tropical forest environments in which Marines typically operate. The new camouflage pattern incorporates a more effective color palette (black, brown, and shades of green), although it does retain some of the features of the old design including the "mesh-like" overprint.

Cimar.jpg

Sours: https://www.camopedia.org/index.php?title=Colombia
  1. Inverter battery amazon
  2. Indiana unemployment overpayment phone number
  3. Evga geforce gtx 1660 super

*Rare* Colombian Army Military Coat Uniform Shirt Camo Jacket Camouflage Large

SoldSee similar items$59.991 Bid, $8.00 Shipping, 30-Day Returns, eBay Money Back Guarantee

Seller:cakalakbobb✉️(1,195)100%, Location:Lancaster, California, Ships to: Worldwide, Item:183619694826*RARE* COLOMBIAN ARMY MILITARY COAT UNIFORM SHIRT CAMO JACKET CAMOUFLAGE LARGE. Nice RARE & VERY hard to find original issue camo coat in excellent shape. Great color, all buttons, no rips, stains or tears! See pics SIZE: Large regular I"LL BE LISTING LOTS OF GOOD STUFF SOON. MILITARY & POLICE PATCHES, BADGES, UNIFORMS, HATS, HELMETS, TOYS, ETC... BUT WITH CONFIDENCE! I'M AN OLD EBAY SELLER STARTING IT UP AGAIN. ALSO EVERY PURCHASE IS 100% GUARANTEED BY EBAY, PAYPAL, & ME! THANKS FOR LOOKING & GOD BLESS!! I COMBINE SHIPPING WHENEVER POSSIBLE, BUT PLEASE WAIT FOR INVOICE. ITS GETTING HARD TO REFUND PARTIAL PAYMENTS.Condition:Used, Restocking Fee:No, All returns accepted:Returns Accepted, Item must be returned within:30 Days, Refund will be given as:Money Back, Return shipping will be paid by:Buyer, Country/Region of Manufacture:Colombia

PicClick Insights - *Rare* Colombian Army Military Coat Uniform Shirt Camo Jacket Camouflage Large PicClick Exclusive

  •  Popularity - 0 views, 0 views per day, 7 days on eBay. 1 sold, 0 available. 1 bid.
  • 0 views, 0 views per day, 7 days on eBay. 1 sold, 0 available. 1 bid.

  •  Price -
  •  Seller - 1,195+ items sold. 0% negative feedback. Great seller with very good positive feedback and over 50 ratings.
  • 1,195+ items sold. 0% negative feedback. Great seller with very good positive feedback and over 50 ratings.

    Recent Feedback

People Also Loved PicClick Exclusive

Sours: https://picclick.com/rare-Colombian-Army-Military-Coat-Uniform-Shirt-Camo-183619694826.html
LEGENDS - Colombian Military Power/Special Forces [2019-HD]

Colombian army soldiers in camouflage uniform in a park preparing for a national celebration. stock photo

Browse top photo categories

Frequently asked questions


What's a royalty-free license?
Royalty-free licenses let you pay once to use copyrighted images and video clips in personal and commercial projects on an ongoing basis without requiring additional payments each time you use that content. It’s a win-win, and it’s why everything on iStock is only available royalty-free.
What kinds of royalty-free files are available on iStock?
Royalty-free licenses are the best option for anyone who needs to use stock images commercially, which is why every file on iStock — whether it’s a photo, illustration or video clip — is only available royalty-free.
How can you use royalty-free images and video clips?
From social media ads to billboards, PowerPoint presentations to feature films, you're free to modify, resize and customize every asset on iStock to fit your projects. With the exception of "Editorial use only" photos (which can only be used in editorial projects and can't be modified), the possibilities are limitless.

Learn more about royalty-free images

Sours: https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/colombian-army-soldiers-in-camouflage-uniform-in-a-park-preparing-for-a-national-gm1208255657-349171793

Camo colombian army

National Army of Colombia

National Army of Colombia
Escudo Ejercito Nacional de Colombia.svg

Coat of Arms of the National Army of Colombia

Founded7 August 1819 (1819-08-07)
(202 years, 2 months and 9 days)
Country Colombia
TypeStanding army
RoleLand warfare
Size361,420 personnel[note 1]
1.687.163 reservists[note 2]
Part ofMilitary Forces of Colombia
Garrison/HQComando del Ejército
Bogota D.C., Colombia
Motto(s)Patria, Honor, Lealtad
"Homeland, Honor, Loyalty"
ColorsRed with Army Crest [2]
 
MarchHimno del Ejército
"Army Anthem"
AnniversariesAugust 7 (Battle of Boyacá)
EngagementsColombian Independence War
Gran Colombia–Peru War
Ecuadorian–Colombian War
Thousand Days War
Leticia Incident
Korean War
Colombian Armed Conflict
Websitewww.ejercito.mil.co
Commander-in-ChiefPresidentIván Duque Márquez
Notable
commanders
Simon Bolivar,
Francisco de Paula Santander,
Gustavo Rojas Pinilla,
Harold Bedoya Pizarro,
Manuel José Bonnet
Rafael Reyes Prieto
Flag
Flag of the Colombian Army.svg

Military unit

The National Army of Colombia (Spanish: Ejército Nacional de Colombia) is the land warfare service branch of the Military Forces of Colombia. With over 361,420 active personnel as of 2020, it is the largest and oldest service branch in Colombia, and the third largest army in the Americas after Brazil and the United States.

It is headed by the Commander of the National Army (Comandante del Ejército Nacional), falls under the authority of the General Commander of the Military Forces (Comandante General de las Fuerzas Militares), and is supervised by the Ministry of National Defense, which answers to the President of Colombia.[3]

The modern Colombian Army has its roots in the Army of the Commoners (Ejército de los Comuneros), which was formed on 7 August 1819 – before the establishment of the present day Colombia – to meet the demands of the Revolutionary War against the Spanish Empire. After their triumph against the Spanish, the Army of the Commoners disbanded, and the Congress of Angostura created the Gran Colombian Army to replace it. Throughout its history, the Colombian Army has seen action in several wars and civil conflicts, including the Gran Colombia-Peru War, the Ecuadorian–Colombian War, the Thousand Days War, and the Korean War. Since the mid-1960s, the Colombian Army has been involved in a low-intensity asymmetrical war known as the Colombian Armed Conflict.

Mission[edit]

The mission statement of the Colombian Army is to conduct military operations oriented towards defending the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity (of the nation), and protecting the civilian population, and private and state resources, to contribute in generating an environment of peace, security, and development, that guarantees the constitutional order of the nation.[4]

History[edit]

See also: List of wars involving Colombia

The Battle of Boyacáin 1819 was the decisive battle that ensured Colombia's independence from Spain and the establishment of Gran Colombia

The Colombian Army traces its history back to the Army of the Commoners – the revolutionary army made up of peasants, llaneros, and other such militiamen during the days of the Colombian War of Independence.

Independence[edit]

Main article: Colombian Declaration of Independence

On July 20 of 1810, Colombia declared its independence from the Spanish Empire, following a long period of political instability within the Spanish Crown due to the Peninsular War. With the Spanish driven out temporarily, a period of nationwide instability and conflict known as the Foolish Fatherland broke out from 1810 to 1816, between federalists and centralists, as many cities and provinces across the country set up their own autonomous juntas. Due to Colombia's challenged geography and the lack of communication between many provinces and cities, the juntas declared themselves sovereign from each other. This fragmentation prevented the proper establishment of a regular army, and it would take nine years before a truly national army would be formed. During this prolonged period of struggling consolidation, the Spanish Crown took advantage of the national disunity, and launched a military campaign in 1816, led by General Pablo Morillo to reassert the authority of the Spanish Empire over its previous holdings. The United Provinces of New Granada tried to resist with an army under the command of Antonio Baraya and Custodio García Rovira, but were defeated by the Spanish forces at the Battle of El Tambo[5] and the Battle of Bajo Palacé effectively reestablishing Spanish rule in New Granada.[6] With New Granada once again under control of the Spanish, Morillo launched a campaign of terror by executing many of the leaders of the independence movement – often in public squares – in order to instill fear. The Gran Colombian Army was consolidated on August 7, 1819, following the defeat of the Spaniards at the Battle of Boyacá under the command of Simon Bolivar.

19th Century and civil wars (1819–1903)[edit]

With independence gained after the defeat of the Spanish Royalist forces at the Battle of Boyacá in 1819, the republic of Gran Colombia was established by the Constitution of Cúcuta in 1821, with its capital in Bogotá. There upon the Gran Colombian Army was formed.

Gran Colombia – Peru war[edit]

Main article: Gran Colombia–Peru War

In 1828 a war broke out with Peru and the Gran Colombian Army was called upon to defend the nation's sovereignty. The war lasted into 1829 with a Peruvian naval victory, but the Colombians were victorious on land with the crushing of the Peruvian invasion force at the Battle of Tarqui. The war ended in a stalemate.[7]

Civil wars (1830–1903)[edit]

After the dissolution in 1830 of Gran Colombia and the death of Bolivar, the Army of the new New Granada had been involved in war and civil war without being able to progress or modernize. Its officers were not well trained or technically skilled. The government addressed this by founding and organizing military schools and colleges, but was hampered by the constant civil wars that financially drained the country's economy. In 1839 General Tomas Cipriano de Mosquera hired Italian Colonel Agustin Códazzi as an inspector of the army. As a consequence of these civil wars over partisan affairs, the chiefs and officers began to be involved in politics. The need to professionalize and retrain the army prompted the creation of a military school, which was created in 1887. In order to reorganize the army, the government hired a French military mission. Its mission was fruitful and the organization along French lines based on divisions, regiments and battalions was implemented in the country. Unfortunately another civil war, perhaps the most devastating of them all, the Thousand Days War, was declared on October 8, 1899, and did not allow the retraining and education of officers and commanders. This civil war lasted until 1903. With the ending of the Thousand Days War, General Rafael Reyes Prieto was elected President of Colombia with many ambitious plans to reorganize and professionalize the army. The first thing he did was to reduce troop numbers drastically: the army at the time had an estimated 80,000 troops who were poorly equipped, poorly trained, poorly dressed and very malnourished. Also the army lacked professionalism and sense of duty to the country and never acted as a national army, acting instead as militias and armed factions led by Commanders who had their own political agendas.[8]

Military reform of 1907[edit]

Colombian cadets circa 1910 wearing Prussian inspired uniforms introduced by the Chilean military mission
Current parade uniform used by the Colombian Military Academywith the distinctive Prussian "Pickelhaube", demonstrating the Chilean Military Mission's influence on the academy is still present

In 1907 a military reform was carried out by President Rafael Reyes Prieto right in the aftermath of the Thousand Days War which had devastated the country economically and morally. The ministry of war hired a Chilean military mission to advise the ministry on how to professionalize the army. This led to the creation of the Colombian Military School in June 1907. The Army was then dramatically reorganized under the guise of the Chilean military mission, the Chilean army which had adopted Prussian military doctrine and uniforms since 1886 did the same to the Colombian army as Colombian troops began using Prussian military uniforms and doctrine, which is still present today in the Colombian Military Academy with ceremonial uniforms being of Prussian influence and the use of Pickelhaube helmets.[9] The Chileans reorganized the Colombian Army into Divisions made up of a divisional HQ, 3 Infantry regiments,1 Artillery regiment, and 1 Cavalry regiment each, meanwhile, military engineers were grouped with the Infantry regiments. This military reform allowed the Colombian army to become professionalized and a truly National army was established. The army remained under the influence of the Chilean military mission until the mission left in 1914.[10] Colombia remained neutral during World War 1 but did watch how the conflict progressed and sent military attachés to Europe after the war to study new technological advancements in aviation, infantry, cavalry, engineering and training methods.

The Leticia Incident and the 1930s[edit]

See also: Colombo-Peruvian War

Colombian Army making maneuvers to counter Peruvian attack

In 1926 the Colombian Government hired another military mission, this time from Switzerland, to reorganize the army again. As a result of this new combined brigades were implemented.[11]

In late 1932 an armed band of Peruvian civilians and soldiers (supposedly acting without Peruvian government approval) took the Amazonian town of Leticia and forced the Colombian residents to flee. The Peruvian President tried to disassociate himself from these actions, but popular opinion quickly forced him to support the seizure of Leticia. The Colombian government responded forcefully, sending an expeditionary force which defeated the Peruvians and retook Leticia. The war led to an explosion of Colombian patriotism.[12] In the Battle of Güepí 1000 Colombian troops attacked 200 entrenched Peruvian troops and took control of the sector with the Peruvians abandoning their positions.[13]

The League of Nations was asked to mediate with the support of Brazilian diplomats, and eventually oversaw the peaceful return of the area to Colombian control. The process generated an interesting historical precedent: for the first time ever, soldiers wore the armband of an international organization (the League of Nations) as they performed peacekeeping duties. The soldiers were Colombian, and the use of the League armbands was primarily a face-saving device to permit the Peruvians to leave without appearing to submit to the Colombians. Nevertheless, the use of these 75 Colombian soldiers as international peacekeepers was an antecedent of United Nationspeacekeeping several decades later.

During the latter part of the 1930s, Colombia began buying more German war material and the German Stahlhelm helmet became the standard issue helmet for all Colombian troops until the 1950s.[14]

1940s–1950s[edit]

See also: La Violencia

On the outbreak of Second World War in September 1939, Colombia, in accordance with its international policy, declared itself a belligerent, as did many other Latin American countries, and received arms and equipment from the United States as part of the Lend Lease program. The first American military missions arrived in the country, and Colombian officials were sent to the United States to perfect their knowledge; as a result of these links a new doctrine[clarification needed] was adopted in the military forces. After the war, the army continued to receive assistance from American missions, and officers attended courses in the United States. Political changes in the country starting in 1946 led up to the civil war known as la Violencia, which started with the El Bogotazo riots of April 9, 1948. The army then became involved in the restoration of public order.[15]

Recent history[edit]

See also: Colombian armed conflict (1960s–present) and Colombian conflict

The Colombian Army is presently at war with leftist rebels of the FARC, ELN and EPL, as well as other minor groups. Members of the military have been accused or condemned of collaborating with the activities of right-wing paramilitaries, such as the AUC and others. The BBC and other sources have reported on cases of corruption within the military, as well as other scandals.[citation needed] However, the army has taken measures to become a transparent and professional fighting force.[citation needed]

Plan Colombia and modernization[edit]

The United States government approved the Plan Colombia initiative in the late 1990s. Part of the resources provided by this initiative would be directed to the support of the Colombian Army by strengthening its combat and logistics capabilities. This Plan greatly benefited the Colombian Army. During the 1990s with the guerrillas gaining more money than ever due to controlling large portions of the drug trade, the FARC began changing their tactics and went from guerrilla warfare to a war of large movements and large attacks where large numbers of guerrillas would combine their forces to capture towns and cities. With the aid received from Plan Colombia, then commander of the armed forces General Fernando Tapias led an internal purification in the army that had the support of the other force commanders and the government. This process contributed to improving substantially the problematic relationship the country had previously had with the United States. This was the beginning of the modernization of the army: Colombian soldiers began receiving the training and technology to confront the guerrillas head-on. With the buying of American Black Hawk helicopters, they learned to deploy quickly into rugged guerrilla terrain. Technical equipment was improved drastically with the US providing satellite-guided bomb “kits” to the Colombian army which also made the Colombian army the first military force in South America to utilize these "smart bombs". With the aid of these bombs the army killed more than two dozen FARC commanders, including Mono Jojoy. With training improved and better equipment the Colombian people now have high regards for the army and internationally they are widely viewed as Latin America's best-prepared and most professional army.[16]

Operation Jaque[edit]

See also: Operation Jaque

This Mi-17 was one of the two helicopters that participated in the Operation it has been given the name: Libertad Uno(Liberty One)[17]

The Colombian Army carried out Operation Jaque, a military operation that resulted in the rescue of 15 hostages, including former Colombian presidential candidate Íngrid Betancourt. The hostages had been held by the FARC. The operation took place on July 2, 2008, along the Apaporis River in Guaviare Department. It was unprecedented in the army's history, in that the intelligence gathering for the operation involved the army placing a mole within the FARC itself for one year or more before the operation. The plan involved tricking FARC rebels into handing over the hostages by having Colombian soldiers pose as members of a fictitious non-government organisation that supposedly would fly the captives to a camp to meet rebel leader Alfonso Cano. Several aspects of the mission were apparently designed to mimic previous Venezuelan hostage transfers, including the actual composition of the group and the type and markings of the helicopters used. Two Mi-17 helicopters came to the landing area in Guaviare, where one, carrying Colombian agents wearing Che Guevara T-shirts, landed to pick up the hostages. The hostages were handcuffed and loaded aboard, and the local FARC commander César and an additional rebel also boarded the helicopters. They were then subdued by Colombian forces. Betancourt realised she was being rescued only when she saw her captor naked and blindfolded on the floor of the aircraft.[18]

Lancero Course[edit]

One of the more demanding courses run by the Colombian Army is the Lancero School. This course – dedicated to counterinsurgency warfare – is held in Tolemaida, 150 miles (240 km) from Bogotá, where temperatures range between 85 and 100 degrees F. (29.5–38 degrees C.) throughout the year, with U.S. military instructors also playing a role. The course lasts 73 days and trains Bolivian, Ecuadorean, and Panamanian troops as well as Colombian soldiers; some French and American soldiers are also trained there.[19] The course, founded in 1955, was based on the methodology of the United States Army Ranger School. Lethal techniques and live ammunition are used.

Overseas military operations[edit]

Korean War[edit]

Main article: Korean War

Batallon Colombia ensign designed for the Korean War.

During the Korean War, some 4,314 troops of the Colombian Army (21% of the total force) served in the Colombian Battalion in the United Nations Command. The initial contingent of troops transported to Korea aboard the USNS Aiken Victory. Once in-country, the Colombian Battalion received training and then joined the American 21st Infantry Regiment on 1 August 1951. It was engaged in battle during Operation Nomadic, for which the battalion received a Presidential Unit Citation. In 1952, as the 21st Infantry Regiment redeployed, the Colombian Battalion was transferred to the 31st Infantry Regiment. The battalion was greatly involved in the Battle of Old Baldy. Colombian soldiers killed in action were sometimes cremated at the United Nations Cemetery in Tanggok and repatriated in 1954.[20] Four different Colombian battalions rotated to Korea. Overall, the Colombian Army lost 141 soldiers by death and suffered 556 battle injuries.[21]

A Colombian MFOsoldier hosts a Canadian helicopter pilot 1989. The Colombian is wearing the distinctive terracotta-colored beret that is unique to the MFO.

Sinai[edit]

The Colombian National Army deployed soldiers in the Sinai as part of the United Nations Emergency Force following the Suez Crisis in and until the Six-Day War in 1967.[22] Since 1980 it has supplied one battalion ('COLBATT') to the Multinational Force and Observers there.

Organization[edit]

Structure of the Colombian National Army

Major units[edit]

Divisions[edit]

Colombian Army Divisions are static Regional Commands

  • 1st Division (Santa Marta) – Its jurisdiction covers the Northern Region of Colombia in which there are the departments of Cesar, La Guajira, Magdalena, Sucre, Bolívar and Atlántico. 2nd Mechanized and 10th Armored brigades.
  • 2nd Division (Bucaramanga) – Its jurisdiction covers the north eastern Colombia in which there are the departments of Norte de Santander, Santander and Arauca. 5th Infantry, 30th Infantry and 23rd Mobile brigades.
  • 3rd Division (Cali) – Its jurisdiction covers the South West of Colombia in which there are the Departments of Nariño, Valle del Cauca, Cauca, Caldas, Quindio, Risaralda and the southern part of the Chocó. 3rd, 8th, 23rd and 29th Infantry brigades.
  • 4th Division (Villavicencio) – Its jurisdiction covers the eastern region of Colombia in which there are the departments of Meta, Guaviare, and part of Vaupés. 7th Infantry, 22nd Infantry and 31st Jungle Infantry brigades.
  • 5th Division (Bogota) – Its jurisdiction covers the Central Region of Colombia in which there are the departments of Cundinamarca, Boyaca, Huila and Tolima. 1st Infantry, 6th Infantry, 8th Mobile, 9th Infantry and 13th Infantry brigades.
  • 6th Division (Florencia) – Its jurisdiction covers the southern region of Colombia in which there are the departments of Amazonas, Caquetá, Putumayo and southern Vaupés. 12th Infantry, 13th Mobile, 26th Jungle and 27th Jungle brigades.
  • 7th Division (Medellin) – Its jurisdiction covers the western region of Colombia in which there are the departments of Cordoba, Antioquia, and part of the Chocó. 4th, 11th, 14th, 15th and 17th Infantry and 11th Mobile Brigades
  • 8th Division (Yopal) – Its jurisdiction covers the northeastern region of Colombia: the Departments of Casanare, Arauca, Vichada, Guainía, and the municipalities of Boyaca of Cubará, Pisba, Paya, Labranzagrande and Pajarito. 16th, 18th, 28th, and the 5th Mobile Brigade.

Other units[edit]

  • Mobile Medical Command with 3 Battalions
  • Military Education and Training Command
  • 19th Cadet Brigade with 3 battalions
  • Army Aviation with 135 helicopters and aircraft.
  • Army Special Forces Division

Combat arms[edit]

Logis.ejc.jpg
  • Infantry (Infantería)
  • Cavalry (Caballería)
  • Artillery (Artillería)
  • Engineers (Ingenieros)
  • Intelligence (Inteligencia)
  • Communications (Comunicaciones)
  • Logistics and Administrative Corps (Cuerpo Logístico y Administrativo)
  • Aviation (Aviación)

Special units[edit]

As a result of several iterative modernization efforts, the Colombian Army has also created several distinct brigades and special operations groups, whose tasks range widely, from Presidential guard duties, to Rapid Aerial Deployment, to Hostage Rescue, to Anti-narcotics operations, and more.

[edit]

Presidential Guard emblem

The Presidential Guard Battalion also known as 37th Infantry Presidential Guard Battalion is a unit of the Colombian Army and honor guard to the President of Colombia and the security detail for the President and his family in his official residence the Nariño Palace. The Battalion is made up of 9 companies, 4 of the companies represent the four traditional combat arms of the Colombian Army: Córdoba Company (Infantry), Rondon Troop (Cavalry), Ricaurte Battery (Artillery) and Caldas Company (Engineers).

The battalion had its origins in Simón Bolívar's Honor Guard, when he returned to Bogotá in 1814 he stayed in the San Carlos palace and was accompanied by his Honor Guard, which was distinguished from the other Units of the Bolívar's Patriot Army by the uniform that they wore, designed by Bolívar himself. On September 25 the commander of Bolívar's honor guard, Colonel Guillermo Fergusson an Irishman, sacrificed his life to save Simón Bolívar from an assassination attempt, in honor of his noble sacrifice the Presidential Guard Band and Corps of Drums which is its own company (the Fergusson Band) was named after him in his honor. The Battalion was re-established in 1927 by President Miguel Abadía Méndez, In 1948 during the infamous el Bogotazo a citywide street riot that almost destroyed all of the city center after infuriated supporters of liberal candidate for the presidency Jorge Eliecer Gaitán heard about his assassination that same day. The Presidential Guard was called up to protect the life of President Mariano Ospina Pérez and the lives of the members who were attending the 9th Pan-American Conference. When the infuriated crowds tried to take the Presidential Palace, the Battalion was able to defend it successfully, on that day Lieutenant Ruiz died on the steps of the palace entrance tying to defend it from the angry mobs.

The Battalion uses 2 dress uniforms, the honor guard wears a 19th-century uniform that was used by Simón Bolívar's Honor Guard, the color of this uniform is red and the uniform has 33 gold buttons, 11 buttons on each side. The 33 gold buttons represent the 33 battles that Bolívar fought in during his campaigns for South American Independence from Spain and, the 22 cords represent the 22 years that Bolívar had spent for fighting for independence. The second uniform is based on 20th century Prussian military uniforms, it is black and the Pickelhaube helmet is worn, the Presidential Guard band and Corps of Drums also uses this uniform.[23]

The Ricaurte Battery serves as the unit conducting 21-gun salutes during state visits and the Presidential inauguration.

Rapid Deployment Force[edit]

The Rapid Deployment Force (Spanish: Fuerza de Despliegue Rápido), also known as FUDRA, is the premier light infantryairborne division of the Colombian Army. Specializing in air assault operations, it carries the distinction of being the most logistically mobile infantry corps in the entire Colombian Armed Forces, and whose mission statement is to have the perpetual capability to respond to any crisis in any part of the country's national borders in rapid fashion.

Created on 7 December 1999 as part of a modernization effort of the armed forces during the Pastrana administration, its current function is to carry out pre-emptive offensive operations against insurgents and criminal groups.[24]

It is considered an elite unit of the army, and was one of the key factors that led to FARC losing much of its territorial gains and logistical capabilities. Its greatest accomplishment was on the 23rd September 2010 – during Operation Sodoma – when the FARC's top military commander Jorge Briceño Suárez aka Mono Jojoy was successfully killed in action.[25] At present, the Rapid Deployment Force is composed of 4 brigades; FUDRA No.1 , FUDRA No.2 , FUDRA No.3 , and FUDRA No.4, with this lastest one having been recently created.[citation needed]

GAULA groups[edit]

Members of the GAULA, prepare for a demonstration during a ceremony in Sibate, Colombia on Dec. 6, 2007.

GAULA is an acronym for Grupos de Acción Unificada por la Libertad Personal, i.e. Unified Action Groups for Personal Liberty, specialising in solving hostage-taking. These are elite units established in 1996 exclusively dedicated to the combating of kidnapping and extortion. They are composed of highly qualified personnel who conduct hostage rescues and dismantling of criminal gangs at the root of crimes which compromise the personal freedom of Colombians. There is an inter-institutional element in GAULA guaranteeing self-checking procedures, trained by staff of the Administrative Security Department, the Technical Investigation Corps (CTI) of the Criminal Investigation Bureau (Fiscalía) and military forces. Currently, the country has 16 GAULA of the Colombian National Army and 2 of the Navy.

Air Assault Aviation Division[edit]

The Colombian National Army Aviation or División de Aviación Asalto Aéreo del Ejército, is an aviation branch that works autonomously from the Colombian Air Force. It is part of the Colombian Army and its main mission is to support the army's ground operations. This Unit was created on September 7, 2016 and it is managed by the Colombian Army.[26] Over the years the Army Aviation has grown tremendously as it has become a fundamental part of the defense of the nation's borders and sovereignty.[27] Within the Air Assault Division, a counter-guerilla warfare command has been established in 2021.[28]

C-SAR[edit]

The Combat Search and Rescue Company or Compañía de Salvamento y Rescate en Combate (C-SAR) is a specialized unit within the Colombian National Army Aviation or División de Aviación Asalto Aéreo del Ejército that plans, directs and executes air combat search, rescue, evacuation, assistance and humanitarian support missions. C-SAR has eight groups distributed throughout the country, in the Mobility and Aviation Maneuver battalions, and two special combat rescue groups in the Tolemaida Fort, in addition, it is divided into four platoons: 'Alpha': jungle and mountain; ‘Bravo’: amphibian or water; 'Charlie': urban, and 'Asbre': support and service. Its emblem that is repeated among the rescue operations community is "Para que otros vivan" (So others may live).

Anti-Narcotics Brigade[edit]

Special Forces Division[edit]

  • (Commando Training Battalion) Batallón de Entrenamiento de Comandos
  • (Special Forces Battalion No.1) Batallón de Fuerzas Especiales no.1 Juan Ruiz
  • (Rural Special Forces Battalion No.2) Batallón de Fuerzas Especiales rurales no. 2 Francisco Vicente Almeida
  • (Rural Special Forces Battalion No.3)Batallón de Fuerzas Especiales rurales no. 3 GR. Pedro Alcantara Herran y Zaldua
  • (Rural Special Forces Battalion No.4) Batallón de Fuerzas Especiales rurales no. 4 CT. Jairo Ernesto Maldonado Melo
  • (Special Forces Battalion No.5) Batallón de Fuerzas Especiales no. 5 MY. Francisco Garcia Molano
  • (Urban Special Forces Group) Agrupación de Fuerzas Especiales Urbanas AFEUR
  • (Urban Antiterrorist Special Forces Group: Alpha component) Agrupación de Fuerzas Especiales Antiterroristas Urbanas AFEAU componente Alpha

AFEAU unit[edit]

The Urban Counter-Terrorism Special Forces Group - Alpha, otherwise known as AFEAU (Spanish: Agrupación de Fuerzas Especiales Antiterroristas Urbanas) is an elite special operations unit within the Colombian Army, dedicated to performing high-value target acquisition or elimination, VIP protection, hostage rescue, quick reaction support, and counter assault operations within urban areas.[29]

As the army component of the AFEAU special forces group, it answers directly to the General Command of the Armed Forces (Spanish: Comando General de las Fuerzas Armadas) and the Ministry of Defense. It is the tier one special operations unit of the Colombian Army.

Military Police[edit]

Colombian Military Police in Zipaquira, 6 June 2013.
Military policeman standing guard near one of the entrances to the Centro Internacional Tequendama.

The Policía Militar (PM) are very common where they can be seen guarding closed roads, museums, embassies, government buildings, and airports. In the National Army of Colombia they are assigned to the 37 Military Police Battalions, wearing green uniforms with the military police helmet.

Schools and courses[edit]

Courses[edit]

  • Arms and Services Capacitation and Specialization Courses
  • Military Professorate
  • Sports and Professional Achievements
  • Combat Specialization Courses:
    • Lancero School
    • Counter-Guerrilla Course
    • Military Airborne School
    • Special Forces Course
    • Meritorious Conduct in Special Units Course
    • Intelligence School
    • Special Land Commandos Course
    • Urban Commando Course
    • Urban Counter-Guerrilla Course
    • Psychological Operations Course
    • Military Police Course

Military educational institutions[edit]

  • Colombian Military Academy "General José María Córdova"
  • Colombian Army NCO School "Sergeant Inocencio Chinca"
  • Army School of Combined Arms (ESACE)[30]
  • Army Infantry School
  • Army Cavalry School
  • Army Artillery School
  • Military Engineering School
  • Army Communications School
  • Army Logistics School
  • Colombian Army Military Police School
  • School of Civil-Military Relations
  • Army Equestrian School
  • Army Aviation School
  • Army International Missions Support School
  • Army Human Rights and International Rights School
  • Army School of Languages

Personnel[edit]

Rank and insignia[edit]

Further information: Military ranks of the Colombian Armed Forces and Military ranks of the Colombian Armed Forces/Army

The rank structure for closely parallels that of the United States military. There are nine officer ranks, ranging from the equivalent of second lieutenant to general. The army has nine enlisted grades, ranging from the equivalent of basic private to command sergeant major.

The tables below display the rank structures and rank insignias for the Colombian Army personnel.[31][32][n 1]

Officers[edit]

Enlisted[edit]

Uniforms[edit]

Historic uniform on LT Gómez Paris

Colombian army personnel wear a number of different uniforms for both cold and hot weather as follows:

Army officer uniforms included a full-dress uniform of blue coat and white trousers for a cold climate; a white full-dress uniform for a hot climate; several different dress uniforms for both hot and cold climates that consisted of some combination of blue and white coat and trousers with piping or fringe on the trousers to indicate branch of service; an olive-drab barracks uniform for a cold climate; a tan gabardine barracks uniform for a hot climate; and tan gabardine service and field uniforms for all climates.

Army enlisted uniforms consisted of an olive-drab dress uniform for a cold climate, a tan flannel dress uniform for a hot climate, and tan barracks and field uniforms for all climates.[34]

Camouflage uniforms[edit]

Since 2006 the National Army of Colombia changed its uniform type forest (woodland) by a modern design featuring a new digital camouflage pattern is called a pixel.

There are 2 types of camouflage, jungle camouflage that is used by most of the army and the desert camouflage that is used by troops in the department of La Guajira and the Colombia Battalion in the Sinai peninsula in the Multinational Force and Observers.

The changes provide greater comfort to the troops, while the material used allows even for the application of mosquito repellent to prevent mosquito bites and a high percentage of the concentration of bacteria and odors.

The design of camouflage texture, color and design is unique to the Colombian army. It is locally made and its distribution is controlled so that only Colombia's military forces can use it.

  • Image of modern camouflage currently worn by the Colombian army.

  • Camouflage for desert operations.

  • Special Forces wearing the new field uniform

Equipment[edit]

See also: List of equipment of the National Army of Colombia

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^Colombia is not a member of NATO, so there is not an official equivalence between the Colombian military ranks and those defined by NATO. The displayed parallel is approximate and for illustration purposes only.

References[edit]

  1. ^ ab"The Military Balance." The International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2020, p. 397.
  2. ^"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2021-06-01. Retrieved 2021-06-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^"Línea de Mando." Ejercito de Colombia, 2019, www.ejercito.mil.co/conozcanos/linea_mando.
  4. ^"Misión y Visión." Ejercito de Colombia, 2019, www.ejercito.mil.co/conozcanos/mision_vision_362168.
  5. ^Henao, Jesús María (1920). Historia de Colombia para la enseñanza secundaria. Bogotá: Librería Colombiana, C. Roldán & Tamayo, 1820. pp. 342–344.
  6. ^Roca Maichel, Luis Eduardo (1998). Historia de los Uniformes Militares de Colombia 1810 - 1998. Colombia: Imprenta y Publicaciones de las Fuerzas Militares. p. 45. ISBN .
  7. ^Manager, Micrositios Content. "Independencia, la Gran Colombia y la República (1819–1903) -". Ejército Nacional de Colombia. Archived from the original on 2017-10-13. Retrieved 2016-11-18.
  8. ^Manager, Micrositios Content. "Independencia, la Gran Colombia y la República (1819–1903) -". Ejército Nacional de Colombia. Archived from the original on 2017-10-13. Retrieved 2016-11-18.
  9. ^Bushnell, David (1993). The Making of Modern Colombia: A Nation in Spite of Itself. United States of America: University of California Press. pp. 157. ISBN .
  10. ^Manager, Micrositios Content. "Inicios del Siglo XX - Escuela Militar, Conflictos y Guerras Mundiales -". Ejército Nacional de Colombia. Archived from the original on 2016-11-18. Retrieved 2016-11-18.
  11. ^Manager, Micrositios Content. "Inicios del Siglo XX - Escuela Militar, Conflictos y Guerras Mundiales -". Ejército Nacional de Colombia. Archived from the original on 2017-08-20. Retrieved 2016-11-18.
  12. ^Historia, Credencial. "Las guerras con el Perú | banrepcultural.org". www.banrepcultural.org. Archived from the original on 2017-04-10. Retrieved 2016-11-18.
  13. ^"Combate de Güepí | banrepcultural.org". 2014-11-29. Archived from the original on 2014-11-29. Retrieved 2016-11-18.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  14. ^jwh1975 (2016-03-07). "The stahlhelm in Latin America after WWII". wwiiafterwwii. Archived from the original on 2016-11-18. Retrieved 2016-11-18.
  15. ^"Inicios del Siglo XX - Escuela Militar, Conflictos y Guerras Mundiales". National Army of Colombia. Archived from the original on 2017-08-20. Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  16. ^"'Plan Colombia': How Washington learned to love Latin American intervention again". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2016-11-18. Retrieved 2016-11-18.
  17. ^"La vedette de 'Operación Jaque' - Archivo Digital de Noticias de Colombia y el Mundo desde 1.990 - eltiempo.com". eltiempo.com. Archived from the original on 2016-11-18. Retrieved 2016-11-18.
  18. ^Padgett, Tim (2008-07-02). "Colombia's Stunning Hostage Rescue". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Archived from the original on 2017-02-02. Retrieved 2016-11-18.
  19. ^Paris Match, no. 2964, March 9–15, 2006.Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^Coleman, Bradley Lynn (October 2005). "The Colombian Army in Korea, 1950–1954"(PDF). The Journal of Military History. Project Muse (Society for Military History). 69 (4): 1137–1177. doi:10.1353/jmh.2005.0215. ISSN 0899-3718. S2CID 159487629. Archived(PDF) from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2021-06-01.
  21. ^Ruíz Novoa, Alberto (1956). El Batallón Colombia en Corea, 1951–1954. Bogotá: Imprenta Nacional. pp. 149–160. OCLC 1862975.
  22. ^"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-05-27. Retrieved 2017-06-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^"::SP NOTICIAS - Presidencia de la República de Colombia::". 2011-12-17. Archived from the original on 2011-12-17. Retrieved 2016-11-18.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  24. ^Manager, Micrositios Content. "Fuerza de Despliegue Rápido - FUDRA - Ejercito Nacional de Colombia". Ejército Nacional de Colombia. Archived from the original on 2016-11-19. Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  25. ^"Cumple 10 años la Fudra, unidad élite del Ejército - Archivo Digital de Noticias de Colombia y el Mundo desde 1.990 - eltiempo.com". eltiempo.com. Archived from the original on 2016-11-20. Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  26. ^Manager, Micrositios Content. "Misión - DIVISION DE AVIACION ASALTO AEREO". Ejército Nacional de Colombia. Archived from the original on 2016-11-20. Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  27. ^"Aniversario 18 de la División de Aviación Asalto Aéreo del Ejército". www.webinfomil.com. Archived from the original on 2016-11-20. Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  28. ^Alsema, Adriaan (1 March 2021). "Duque's pirate 'Plan Colombia' copy latest blow to peace process". Colombia Reports. Archived from the original on 1 March 2021. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  29. ^https://www.fac.mil.co/operaciones-especiales-de-contraterrorismo-urbano-y-rescate-de-rehenes-afeau
  30. ^"ESACE". ESACE (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2019-12-14. Retrieved 2020-09-28.
  31. ^Congreso de la República de Colombia (28 July 2010). "Ley 1405 de 2010 Nuevos Grados Militares" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  32. ^Ejército de Colombia (15 March 2011). "Grados y distintivos del Ejército" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2010-12-15. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  33. ^ ab"Capítulo V: Insignias militares". RGE 4-20.1: Reglamento de Uniformes, Insignias y Distinciones (in Spanish) (7th ed.). Colombia: National Army of Colombia. pp. 301–331. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  34. ^"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-03-09. Retrieved 2021-06-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]

Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Army_of_Colombia
Columbian Digital Camouflage uniform

SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS


COLOMBIA

The Ties That Bind: Colombia and Military-Paramilitary Links

TABLE OF CONTENTS

SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

COLOMBIA AND MILITARY-PARAMILITARY LINKS

THIRD BRIGADE

FOURTH BRIGADE

THIRTEENTH BRIGADE


Human Rights Watch here presents detailed, abundant, and compelling evidence of continuing close ties between the Colombian Army and paramilitary groups responsible for gross human rights violations.

This information was compiled by Colombian government investigators and Human Rights Watch. Several of our sources, including eyewitnesses, requested anonymity because their lives have been under threat as a result of their testimony.

Far from moving decisively to sever ties to paramilitaries, Human Rights Watch's evidence strongly suggests that Colombia's military high command has yet to take the necessary steps to accomplish this goal. Human Rights Watch's information implicates Colombian Army brigades operating in the country's three largest cities, including the capital, Bogotá. If Colombia's leaders cannot or will not halt these units' support for paramilitary groups, the government's resolve to end human rights abuse in units that receive U.S. security assistance must be seriously questioned.

Previous Human Rights Watch reports and documents have detailed credible and compelling evidence contained in government and other investigations of continuing ties between the military and paramilitary groups in the Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, Fourteenth, and Seventeenth Brigades.

Together, evidence collected so far by Human Rights Watch links half of Colombia's eighteen brigade-level army units (excluding military schools) to paramilitary activity. These units operate in all of Colombia's five divisions. In other words, military support for paramilitary activity remains national in scope and includes areas where units receiving or scheduled to receive U.S. military aid operate.

Human Rights Watch has drawn this information to the attention of the appropriate Colombian government ministers and officials, and has urged them to take immediate action to address these continuing problems in accordance with existing Colombian law.

Based on the enclosed evidence, Human Rights Watch found that:

  • As recently as 1999, Colombian government investigators gathered compelling evidence that Army officers set up a "paramilitary" group using active duty, retired, and reserve duty military officers along with hired paramilitaries who effectively operated alongside Army soldiers and in collaboration with them;
  • In 1997, 1998, and 1999, a thorough Colombian government investigation collected compelling evidence that Army officers worked intimately with paramilitaries under the command of Carlos Castaño. They shared intelligence, planned and carried out joint operations, provided weapons and munitions, supported with helicopters and medical aid, and coordinated on a day to day basis. Some of the officers involved remain on active duty and in command of troops;
  • There is credible evidence, obtained through Colombian government investigations and Human Rights Watch interviews, that in 1998 and 1999, Army intelligence agents gathered information on Colombians associated with human rights protection, government investigative agencies, and peace talks, who were then subjected to threats, harassment, and attacks by the army, at times with the assistance of paramilitary groups and hired killers;
  • There is credible evidence that this alliance between military intelligence, paramilitary groups, and hired killers is national in scope and is able to threaten key investigators in the Attorney General's office and the Procuraduría;
  • The brigades discussed here -- the Third, Fourth, and Thirteenth -- operate in Colombia's largest cities, including the capital. Their commanders are considered among the most capable and intelligent, and are leading candidates for promotion to positions of overall command of divisions, the Army, and Colombia's joint forces. If Colombia's leaders cannot or will not halt support for paramilitary groups in these units, it is highly questionable to assume that they will be more successful in units that are less scrutinized or operate in rural areas, including units that receive U.S. security assistance in southern Colombia;
  • As these cases underline, Colombia's civilian investigative agencies, in particular the Attorney General's office, are capable of sophisticated and hard-hitting investigations. However, many investigators assigned to cases that implicate the Army and paramilitaries have been forced to resign or to flee Colombia;
  • At least seven officers mentioned in the attached report are School of the Americas graduates. Training alone, even when it includes human rights instruction, does not prevent human rights abuses. It must be accompanied by by clear and determined action on the part of the Colombian government to bring to justice those in the military who have committed human rights abuses, to force the military to break longstanding ties to paramilitary groups, and to ensure that the Colombian Armed Forces are subject to the rule of law, including the August 1997 Constitutional Court decision that mandates that security force personnel accused of committing crimes against humanity are tried in civilian courts.
All international security assistance should be conditioned on explicit actions by the Colombian Government to sever links, at all levels, between the Colombian military and paramilitary groups. Abuses directly attributed to members of the Colombian military have decreased in recent years, but over the same period the number and scale of abuses attributed to paramilitary groups operating with the military's acquiescence or open support have skyrocketed. International assistance should not be provided either to those who directly commit human rights abuses or to those who effectively contract others to carry out abuses on their behalf.

The actions that the Colombian government should be required to take include:

  • devising and implementing a comprehensive and public plan to investigate, pursue, capture, and bring to justice paramilitary leaders, one that provides sufficient resources and guarantees the necessary political support to accomplish these goals;
  • providing a significant increase of funding for the Attorney General's Human Rights Unit, including increased support for the Witness Protection program, travel, communications equipment, increased security, and improved evidence-gathering capability. The work of Colombia's Attorney General's office has contributed significantly to the protection of human rights and accountability for serious crimes, including crimes committed by Colombia's guerrillas. Yet prosecutors and investigators continue to run deadly risks. Many have been forced to leave the country because of threats against their lives, leaving the fate of crucial cases in jeopardy;
  • establishing the ability at the regional and local level to respond to threats of massacres and targeted violence, including the creation of a rapid reaction force to investigate threats and killings, and to take steps to pursue and apprehend alleged perpetrators in order to bring them to justice;
With regard to U.S. training of Colombian military and police, Human Rights Watch urges the international community to ensure that:
  • all U.S. advice and training includes detailed instruction regarding the obligation of all members of the military and security forces to uphold Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and Protocol II. Training should include hypothetical situations that reflect Colombian reality, and students should be closely evaluated on their understanding and application of international humanitarian law. Specialists from the International Committee of the Red Cross should be invited to contribute to such training;
  • all existing training materials are reviewed in coordination with representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Defensora del Pueblo, the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Colombian Attorney General, and a representative of independent human rights groups, to ensure that they reflect the highest standards of protection for human rights and international humanitarian law;
  • all trainees, whether of officer rank or below, receive appropriate instruction in human rights and international humanitarian law.
The information submitted by Human Rights Watch shows clearly that intelligence-sharing remains the most pervasive and common method of collaboration between the Colombian military and paramilitary groups, with grave consequences for human rights. Intelligence is by definition a central function of any army, and is clearly so in the case of the Colombian military. Addressing the problems such information-sharing poses defies a unit-by-unit approach. Therefore:
  • observing the aim of the Leahy Amendment, the United States should apply human rights conditions to all intelligence-sharing, to ensure that information is neither shared with human rights abusers nor with those who will pass it to paramilitary groups that violate human rights;
  • for the purposes of compliance with the Leahy Amendment, the United States should make it clear that aiding and abetting any paramilitary group would result in a unit being disqualified for receipt of further U.S. aid or training effective measures are taken to investigate and punish violations;
  • any increase in security assistance should mean a proportionate increase in civilian staff assigned to the U.S. Embassy and State Department to oversee compliance with human rights conditions. Staff should be required to meet frequently with not only military and government sources of information, but also independent human rights groups, the church, and aid organizations. The goal must be to gather as much information as possible about reported human rights violations;
  • a report on monitoring activities in countries where the Leahy Amendment applies should be a regular part of the State Department's annual report on human rights and should be available for independent review.
The "effective measures" set out in the Leahy Amendment should be interpreted to include, among other measures, the rigorous application of the August 1997 ruling of Colombia's Constitutional Court, which requires that crimes against humanity allegedly committed by military personnel be investigated and tried in civilian courts. Neither the military nor the Superior Judicial Council charged with resolving jurisdictional disputes have abided by this ruling to date.
  • as a condition of U.S. security assistance, the Government of Colombia should first require the military to respect civilian jurisdiction in cases involving credible allegations of human rights abuse by military personnel, including cases where officers are accused of conspiring to commit or facilitate murders and massacres by paramilitary groups. In this way, President Pastrana can ensure that such cases are sent to civilian courts, best equipped to investigate them impartially and guarantee due process;
  • the United States should require that the Colombian military set up an independent review committee, composed of high level representatives from the Attorney General's office and the office of the Procuraduría, to assess whether there is credible evidence of human rights abuse against individual officers and soldiers. If such credible evidence is found, the individual should be immediately suspended and the case sent to the civilian courts for prosecution. If found guilty, the individual should be permanently dismissed from the security forces;
  • to reinforce sanctions on abusive security force members, the United States should conduct a review of all visas granted to military personnel and ensure that individuals against whom there is credible evidence of human rights abuse or support for paramilitary groups have their visas revoked or are denied visas to enter the United States;
  • to strengthen accountability, the United States must urge Colombia to reform the rules governing investigations and disciplinary proceedings carried out by the Procuraduría. The Procuraduría is the government agency that oversees the conduct of government employees, including members of the military and police, and can order them sanctioned or dismissed. Currently, however, delays in investigation mean that many investigations into serious human rights crimes must be shelved due to excessively short statutes of limitations. Also, the crime of murder is not included as a reason for dismissal. Even when the Procuraduría finds that a member of the security forces has committed murder, it can recommend no more stringent punishment than a "severe reprimand," simply a letter in the individual's employment file;
  • the United States must require that Colombia void the statute of limitations for investigations into crimes against humanity and other, related human rights violations.
Further, the international community should urge Colombia to pass and rigorously enforce laws that protect human rights including laws penalizing forced disappearance, unlawful detention, and torture. Legislation that officially recognizes and supports the work of the Attorney General's Human Rights Unit should also be supported by the foreign embassies in Bogotá.

Human rights defenders are among the most at-risk groups in Colombia. The international community should support their work by increasing funding for non-governmental groups that apply for international assistance. Funds should help strengthen their ability to investigate and report on human rights violations.

The international community should provide increased funding for Colombia's forcibly displaced, not only those who may be forced to abandon their homes because of future coca eradication efforts. Currently Colombia ranks third in the world in terms of the number of forcibly displaced people. Aid should be channeled through the church and independent aid and human rights groups rather than the government, in view of the latter's previous failure to follow through with promised assistance.

BACK TO THE TOP

Half of Colombia's eighteen brigade-level army units (excluding military schools) have documented links to paramilitary activity

THIRD BRIGADE (headquarters in Cali, Valle);

"The Calima Front and the Third Brigade are the same thing."

Colombian government investigator

Colombian government investigators and Human Rights Watch interviews include compelling, detailed information that in 1999, the Colombian Army's Third Brigade set up a "paramilitary" group in the department of Valle del Cauca, in southern Colombia. The investigators identify this group by its self-imposed name, the Calima Front (Frente Calima), and told Human Rights Watch that they were able to link the group to active duty, retired, and reserve military officers attached to the Third Brigade along with hired paramilitaries taken from the ranks of the Peasant Self-Defense Group of Córdoba and Urabá (Autodefensas Campesinas de Córdoba y Urabá, ACCU), commanded by Carlos Castaño. According to these government investigators as well as eyewitness testimony obtained by Human Rights Watch, the Third Brigade provided the Calima Front with weapons and intelligence.

At the time these events took place, the Third Brigade was under the command of Brig. Gen. Jaime Ernesto Canal Albán, where he remains to this day.(1)

Our information is based on interviews with Attorney General investigators who prepared documents for an on-going government investigation that is currently under seal (bajo reserva); an investigator from an independent organization; other investigators; and "Elias," a former Army intelligence agent who also served as a cartel gunman. "Elias" also testified under oath to Attorney General investigators. "Elias" told Human Rights Watch and government investigators that he worked for the army's "Coronel Agustín Codazzi" Battalion in Palmira, part of the Third Brigade.(2)

The Third Brigade is part of the Colombian Army's Third Division, which includes a region where military units receiving a large amount of U.S. security assistance are concentrated.(3)

According to the government investigator Human Rights Watch interviewed who helped prepare the official investigation, the Calima Front was formed in response to a mass kidnaping carried out by guerrillas belonging to the José María Becerra Front of the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN). On May 30, 1999, guerrillas seized about 140 worshipers from Cali's La María Church. Among those taken were suspected drug traffickers believed to run part of the business established by the jailed Cali Cartel leaders.(4) Guerrillas demanded ransoms for some of the hostages, a serious violation of the laws of war.(5)

In response, "Elias" told Human Rights Watch, Third Brigade active duty and reserve officers formed the Calima Front, with the assistance of Carlos Castaño. Active duty officers provided intelligence and logistical support. Former military officers were among those called in to assume positions of command. The troops were made up primarily of paramilitaries brought in from Colombia's north. The men were initially lodged on ranches belonging to suspected drug traffickers, who also contributed resources to equip and feed the men.(6)

The connection between drug traffickers and paramilitary groups is not new and has been well documented in reporting by the U.S. Embassy in Bogotáá since at least 1990.(7)

"Elias" told Human Rights Watch that during his employment as an intelligence agent, he witnessed close links between drug traffickers, paramilitaries, and the Army. Among other illegal practices, "Elias" said that Codazzi Battalion soldiers routinely sold weapons and munitions captured from guerrillas on the black market. The money raised, he said, went to soldiers and to fund illegal activities. "Elias" said that he was paid according to operations generated by his information, in part supplemented by the battalion's illegal weapons sales.(8)

"Elias" said he also worked for local drug traffickers, and served as a body guard on the ranch of one drug trafficker who frequently hosted Third Brigade troops and paramilitaries. In his interview, he described the distinction between drug traffickers, paramilitaries, and the Colombian Army as virtually non-existent. His services were valuable, he told Human Rights Watch, since he maintained close ties to the Army and could serve as a shared intelligence agent for all three groups. "The salary was $800 a month if I worked with [the paramilitaries] without going on maneuvers and $1,300 if I went into the field," "Elias" told Human Rights Watch.(9)

In July, local officials and the regional ombudsman (Defensora) began receiving reports from local residents of the appearance of the "Calima Front." Over the August 1 weekend, armed men reportedly killed four peasants near Tulu.(10) According to press reports, the group, estimated to include at least 150 men wearing army-style uniforms, carried AK-47s, M-60s, grenades, and the latest communications equipment. Despite abundant reports of their presence, their movements went virtually unimpeded for weeks.(11)

In August, "Elias" testified to Attorney General investigators in Bogotá about his contact with the Calima Front. Investigators told Human Rights Watch that they corroborated his testimony over the following weeks, as the killings and massacres he warned had been planned by the Calima Front in conjunction with Third Brigade officers progressed.(12)

Subsequently, allegations of a connection between the Calima Front and Third Brigade surfaced publicly, when the ELN charged Army complicity in a statement released with a group of La María hostages.(13) Human Rights Watch interviewed an independent investigator who was able to confirm the Calima Front's existence and give additional information in October 1999.(14)

By August 5, the first of hundreds of displaced people began to arrive in towns like Tulu, San Pedro, and Buga. Many told stories similar to the one Abelardo Trejos gave to a reporter from the Cali-based El País. Armed men had blocked the roads, so Trejos, his wife, and two children fled on a foot path. "[The armed men] told me that we had to leave, because there was going to be a tremendous war and that I should return when it was all over."(15)

On August 7, armed men seized Noralba Gaviria Piedrahíta, a community leader, bound her, then led her to the outskirts of Ceylán, near Bugalagrande, and executed her.(16) On September 22, authorities discovered the mutilated and dismembered bodies of seven men near Tulu, apparently executed by the Calima Front for suspected ties to guerrillas.(17)

Despite abundant evidence of illegal activity, throughout the summer the Army claimed that the murders and forced displacement were "unconfirmed." Maj. Gen. Jaime Humberto Cortés Parada, commander of the Cali-based Third Division, blamed deaths on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC), which in his words was seeking to "generate chaos and disinformation."(18)

In Tulu, where a community stadium was providing emergency shelter, the number of displaced families fast outgrew available resources. The press reported that at night, men on motorbikes fired shots into the air and shouted threats at the displaced civilians, whom they accused of being guerrilla sympathizers.(19) By September, local officials estimated that at least 40 people had been killed and over 2,000 were forcibly displaced.(20)

Meanwhile, both "Elias" and the government investigators handling the case told Human Rights Watch that they began to receive death threats.(21) Although government investigators told Human Rights Watch that they put "Elias" under protective custody, the threats continued. "Elias" told us there were two attempts on his life.(22) The government investigators handling the case and one other observer contacted by authorities to assist in the investigation told Human Rights Watch that they were also threatened. (23) "Elias" and several Attorney General investigators later fled Colombia.(24)

All agree, in the words of one investigator, that "the Calima Front and the Third Brigade are the same thing."(25)

This pattern of activity differs little from previous cases documented in Colombian court proceedings, where the Third Brigade, paramilitaries, and drug traffickers allied to attack suspected guerrillas and civilians and commit atrocities. Between 1988 and 1990, for example, traffickers allied with police and Third Brigade officers perpetrated the over 100 killings known collectively as the Trujillo massacre. President Ernesto Samper subsequently acknowledged the government's role in carrying out these killings and covering up its responsibility on January 31, 1995.(26)

Another atrocity linked to the Third Brigade was the 1993 Riofrío massacre. On October 5, thirteen members of the Ladino family living in Riofrío, Valle del Cauca, were murdered by a combined force of Third Brigade soldiers and paramilitaries.(27)

More recently, the Third Brigade has been implicated in the Monteloro massacre of five people on November 8, 1998. According to an independent investigation, troops from the "Palacé" Battalion, based in Buga, and the "Numancia" Counterguerrilla Battalion killed five civilians as they celebrated the fifteenth birthday party of the daughter of the owner of the house they were in. Several of the witnesses have since been killed in circumstances that suggest an attempt to cover up the crime.(28)

BACK TO THE TOP


FOURTH BRIGADE (headquarters in Medellín, Antioquia)

"When we would deliver a guerrilla to the Girardot Battalion, they would give us in exchange grenades and R-15 munitions . . . And after the Army received (the corpse), they would dress it in a military uniform."

Francisco Enrique Villalba Hernández, a former paramilitary

The Attorney General's office has collected extensive evidence of pervasive ties in 1997, 1998, and 1999 between the Fourth Brigade and paramilitaries under the command of Carlos Castaño. These documents name the Girardot, Granaderos, Héroes de Barbacoas, Juan del Corral Battalions, and Pedro Nel Ospina Battalions as well as Fourth Brigade headquarters.

The investigation describes activities that occurred while the Fourth Brigade was under the command of Gen. Alfonso Manosalva (since deceased) and subsequently, Gen. Carlos Ospina Ovalle, since promoted and now head of Colombia's Fourth Division.(29) In his current post, General Ospina is the divisional commander of at least one of the units proposed to receive U.S. security assistance, the Twelfth Brigade, based in Florencia, Caquetá.(30)

In 1998, the Attorney General opened an investigation of alleged atrocities committed the previous year by paramilitaries around the town of Girardota, Tarazá, and Caucasia, in the department of Antioquia. Investigators concluded that a group of so-called "paramilitaries" included six active-duty soldiers assigned to the Batallón de Infantera No. 10 "Girardot" and the Batallón de Ingenieros No. 4 "Pedro Nel Ospina." In the official investigation, the group was linked to a series of killings and robberies committed while they were dressed in Army uniforms and carrying their Army-issue weapons, including machine guns and grenades. In so-called "social cleansing" operations, the group attacked and killed individuals believed to be drug addicts or thieves.(31)

Among the alleged paramilitaries Attorney General investigators told Human Rights Watch enjoyed free access to Fourth Brigade headquarters in 1997 and 1998 was Jacinto Alberto Soto, known as "Lucas" and believed to act as the ACCU's accountant. In 1998, the Attorney General issued an arrest warrant for Soto and seized him in possession of ACCU documents and ledgers. Nevertheless, authorities told Human Rights Watch that Soto apparently bribed his way out of the front door of Medellín's maximum security prison weeks later.(32)

In a separate series of investigations, Attorney General prosecutors collected abundant evidence linking the Fourth Brigade to the paramilitaries under Castaño's command who carried out the El Aro massacre, which took place in October 1997. At the time, General Ospina commanded the Fourth Brigade. These documents show that on October 25, a joint army-paramilitary force surrounded the village of El Aro and the 2,000 people who live in and around it. The operation was part of a region-wide offensive launched against the FARC and designed to force residents to abandon villages identified as providing FARC guerrillas with supplies and "conquer" the region, in the words of Castaño.(33)

Survivors told Human Rights Watch that while soldiers maintained a perimeter around El Aro, an estimated twenty-five ACCU members entered the village, rounded up residents, and executed four people in the plaza. One witness told Human Rights Watch that the ACCU leaders were men who called themselves "Cobra" and "Junior." Witnesses said that paramilitaries told store owner Aurelio Areiza and his family to slaughter a steer and prepare food from their shelves to feed the ACCU fighters on October 25 and 26, while the rest of Colombia voted in municipal elections. The next day, witnesses told Human Rights Watch, paramilitaries took Areiza to a nearby house, tied him to a tree, then tortured and killed him. They added that the ACCU gouged out Arieza's eyes and cut off his tongue and testicles.(34)

One witness told journalists who visited El Aro soon afterwards that families who attempted to flee were turned back by soldiers camped on the outskirts of town. Over the five days they remained in El Aro, ACCU members were believed to have executed at least eleven people, including three children, burned forty-seven of the sixty-eight houses, including a pharmacy, a church, and the telephone exchange, looted stores, destroyed the pipes that fed the homes potable water, and forced most of the residents to flee. When they left on October 30, the ACCU took with them over 1,000 head of cattle along with goods looted from homes and stores.(35) Afterwards, thirty people were reported to be forcibly disappeared.(36)

By year's end, hundreds of displaced families were divided between shelters in Ituango, Puerto Valdivia, and Medellín.(37) Jesús Valle, an Ituango town councilman, lawyer, and president of the "Héctor Abad Gómez" Permanent Human Rights Committee, helped document the massacre and represented some families of victims. He was assassinated in his Medellín office on February 27, 1998. Carlos Castaño, the Army, and local drug traffickers are currently under investigation for planning his murder.(38) Government investigators have linked the hired killers to La Terraza, a group of professional assassins that works on contract for Castaño.(39)

In sworn testimony to Attorney General investigators taken on April 30, 1998, Francisco Enrique Villalba Hernández, a former paramilitary who took part in the El Aro massacre, confirmed the testimony by survivors taken by Human Rights Watch that the operation had been carefully planned and carried out by a joint paramilitary-Army force. Villalba said he belonged to the Toledo Group within the ACCU's Metro Front. He told authorities that "Junior" and Salvatore Mancuso, known as "El Mono Mancuso" and the commander of ACCU fighters present, took him and approximately 100 other paramilitaries to Puerto Valdivia to prepare to enter El Aro.(40)

There, Villalba told authorities that he witnessed the meeting between Mancuso, an Army lieutenant, and two Army subordinates, there with troops. This region is covered by both the Girardot and Granaderos Battalions. Throughout the encounter, Villalba testified, Army soldiers and paramilitaries addressed each other as "cousin" (primo), as a sign of shared goals and purpose.(41)Villalba was also able to testify about radio exchanges he overheard between Mancuso and the colonel in charge of the battalion that was taking part in the combined operation. According to Villalba, "They were planning the entry into El Aro and how the operation would go lower down (the mountain), so that the Army would prevent people or commissions or journalists from entering."(42)

During the operation, Villalba said that the combined Army-paramilitary force was attacked by the FARC. "Right when we had contact with guerrillas, which lasted three hours, an Army helicopter arrived, and gave us medical supplies and munitions."(43)

Villalba admitted taking direct part in killings and the mutilations of victims, including a beheading. Once the paramilitaries had rounded up the cattle belonging to El Aro residents, Villalba said, paramilitaries left the area protected by the Army, which advised them to take a route that would avoid members of the Attorney General's office and Procuradura they believed had been sent to investigate reports of the massacre. While the paramilitaries traveled in several public busses commandeered on the highway, another car preceded them, according to Villalba, ensuring that the busses would pass army roadblocks unhampered.(44)

In statements to the press, Carlos Castaño took responsibility for the massacre.(45)

Villalba also testified about numerous other operations carried out jointly by paramilitaries and the Granaderos and Girardot Battalions. A common practice, he told government investigators, was "legalization" (legalización), when paramilitaries would give the corpses of suspected guerrillas or murdered civilians to the Army in exchange for weapons and munitions. Villalba testified that soldiers then clothed the corpses in military uniforms and claimed them publicly as guerrillas killed in combat. "When we would deliver a guerrilla to the Girardot Battalion, they would give us in exchange grenades and R-15 munitions... And after the Army received (the corpse), they would dress it in a military uniform."(46)

Prosecutors told Human Rights Watch that they confirmed this detail by reviewing Fourth Brigade records on weapons, which revealed that many weapons issued to troops had vanished. Although the prosecutor told Human Rights Watch that Fourth Brigade military officers had confirmed that Granaderos Battalion stores had gone to paramilitaries, he claimed that the Army never followed up on the investigation or punished anyone.(47)

As Human Rights Watch explained in War Without Quarter: Colombia and International Humanitarian Law, fueling human rights abuses by soldiers is the army's continuing emphasis on body counts as a means of measuring performance.(48) Officers who fail to amass lists of enemy casualties risk seeing their careers stalled and ended.(49)

As Villalba's testimony demonstrates, "legalization" is one way officers can better their chances of receiving medals and promotions. "The commander would give the order, and says that he wanted results, casualties (bajas)," one former army officer told Human Rights Watch. "So anyone who came near our patrol would be killed."(50)

Less than a month after former Armed Forces Commander General Manuel Bonett told Human Rights Watch that the army had revised the way it measured success, Gen. Iván Ramírez summarized the work of his First Division by releasing to the press long lists of people claimed killed in action by his troops.(51)

This is the same officer whose visa to enter the United States was reportedly revoked the grounds of "terrorist activity," in this case support for paramilitary groups. According to a Washington Post investigation, Ramírez was a key intelligence source for the United States and served as a liaison and paid informant for the Central Intelligence Agency, supposedly to help the fight against drug traffickers and Marxist guerrillas. At the same time, according to the report, he maintained close ties to right-wing paramilitary groups who finance much of their activities through drug trafficking.(52)

Far from subsiding, Attorney General investigations gathered in compelling detail evidence on how illegal activity in the Fourth Brigade continued in 1998 and 1999. Perhaps most notorious was the March 1999 murder of Alex Lopera, a former peace adviser to the Antioquia governor's office. Lopera was assisting a family negotiate the release of a family member kidnaped by guerrillas when he was stopped at an Army roadblock near Sonsn, Antioquia.(53)

According to sworn testimony by "Valentín," a former Fourth Brigade soldier and radio operator present at the scene, soldiers from the Granaderos and Juan del Corral Battalions searched the car and discovered the ransom money hidden in a spare tire. At the time, "Valentín" told prosecutors, the commander of the Granaderos Battalion, Major David Hernández Rojas, was present.(54)

Since there were no arrest warrants for any of the car's occupants, "Valentín" testified, procedure dictated that soldiers had to let the car proceed. However, according to "Valentín," Major Hernández first sent several soldiers ahead to ambush the car and steal the money.(55)

The soldiers, "Valentín" explained, had little choice. "Hernández told all of us there to have a care, that whoever informed on him would die, with every person in his family. He said that he had people working for him that did that sort of work."(56)

Under the command of Capt. Diego Fernando Fino, "Valentín" said that he and two soldiers set up the ambush.(57) "Valentín" testified to prosecutors that private Carlos Mario Escudero fired the fatal shots, killing all three passengers at point blank range. The ransom was divided up between the soldiers.(58) The case came to light, however, when Escudero's wife reported his share of the money stolen several weeks later according to Escudero's testimony to government investigators.(59)

An internal investigation initiated by the Fourth Brigade was easily deflected, according to "Valentín." "(Hernández) told all of the Granaderos soldiers how they should testify, and each one was given a set thing to say."(60)

"Valentín" also testified about Major Hernández's close ties with paramilitaries operating in eastern Antioquia.(61) In one deposition, "Valentín" told investigators that Major Hernández told him and other subordinates that he had begun to organize a death squad called "La Muerte" (Death) within the Fourth Brigade in coordination with an army officer attached to the rural Gaula, a combined military-police unit. The group was to be equipped and armed with camouflage uniforms, guns, and munitions seized by soldiers from guerrillas.(62)

"Valentín" also told Attorney General investigators that Major Jesús María Clavijo Clavijo, then commander of the "Héroes de Barbacoas" Battalion, worked with paramilitary groups.(63) Among the killings "Valentín" attributed to Major Clavijo working with paramilitaries were ones carried out near El Carmen de Atrato, Choc, in February 1999. "Normally, everywhere that Major Clavijo went, there were disappearances, murders, and wherever he was there was always a flood of reports of abuses," he told investigators in a sworn statement.(64)

According to "Valentín," Major Clavijo also "legalized" corpses delivered by paramilitaries. However, this system didn't work if a reward for a missing person was offered by family members. In one case, "Valentín" testified that Major Clavijo ordered soldiers under his command to dismember several corpses with chainsaws in order to foil identification.(65)

"Valentín," who was a radio operator, said he often heard paramilitaries communicating with the Army in the field. "As I was monitoring the communications, I heard people that were not part of the Army talking about combat and requesting assistance, using other channels than the ones we used, and I realized that these were the paramilitaries by the way that they spoke... Major Abondano [of the Fourth Brigade] gave orders to the troops using the radio, to advance, to follow the flank they were on, because our 'cousins' were in combat and needed help."(66)

This witness also linked other Fourth Brigade officers, including Major Clavijo, Col. Rivillas, Major Abondano and others to paramilitaries through regular meetings held on military bases, He said that officers attached to the "Pedro Nel Ospina" Battalion also took part in support for paramilitaries.(67)

A parallel investigation by the Internal Affairs agency (Procuraduría) listed hundreds of cellular telephone and beeper communications between known paramilitaries and Fourth Brigade officers, among them Lieutenant Colonel Carlos Ospina Pardo, Lieutenant Colonel Alfonso Zapata Gaviria, Major Álvaro Cortés Morillo,(68) a "Major Ardila," Major Jesús María Clavijo, Lieutenant Felipe Rodríguez, Private Iván Darío Jaramillo, Private Javier Gómez Herrán, and Private Carlos Mario Escudero.(69)

Clavijo's name also surfaced in Attorney General investigations of alleged Army coordination with CONVIVIRs, groups of civilians authorized by the government to carry out war-related activities. In practice, they differed little from illegal paramilitary groups. In 1997, José Alirio Arcila, the leader of an Antioquia CONVIVIR known as "Los Sables" implicated Clavijo and other Fourth Brigade officers in a series of murders in Medellín. However, Human Rights Watch is not aware of any on-going investigations of the security force officers named by Arcila.(70)

Nevertheless, Major Clavijo, for example, has since been promoted to colonel and is now commander of the "Hroes de Majagual" Battalion under the jurisdiction of the Fifth Brigade and based in Barrancabermeja. Most recently, this battalion has been linked in the press to an increase in paramilitary activity and direct attacks on the civilian population near Cantagallo, Santander. In November 1999, for example, local farmers charged that troops under Clavijo's direct command had coordinated with paramilitaries to seize two noted leaders of displaced people, Gildardo Fuentes and Edgar Quiroga.(71) As of this writing, they remain "disappeared."

The following January, the Peasant Association of the Cimitarra River Valley told local authorities that Clavijo's men were carrying out so-called "anti-drug operations" by attacking civilians along the Cimitarra River. In addition, they claimed that Colombian Navy patrol boats fired on civilian dwellings in the villages of La Victoria, Coroncoro, and Yanacu starting on January 16.(72) Over 150 people fled to Barrancabermeja for safety.(73)

For his part, Major Hernández was arrested, but later, government investigators told Human Rights Watch, was allowed to escape by soldiers under the command of Fourth Brigade Brig. Gen. Eduardo Herrera Verbel.(74) The Colombian press has reported that Hernández now works with the ACCU.(75) Indeed, "Valentín" told government investigators that the officer told his subordinates that he would work for the paramilitaries if he was investigated by the Attorney General's office, since the ACCU had already offered him a car, a ranch, and a high salary.(76)

So far, impunity has been the result of official investigations. The prosecutors and investigators assigned to the case have either recused themselves out of fear or fled Colombia because of threats. One prosecutor told Human Rights Watch that he received credible information indicating that Major Hernández had paid La Terraza the equivalent of  $7,000 for his life.(77)

BACK TO THE TOP


THIRTEENTH BRIGADE (headquarters in Bogotá, the capital)

I signed one case to authorize an indictment of paramilitaries before lunch, and by the time I returned to my desk after eating, a death threat, hand delivered, was there, with intimate details about the decor of my apartment to let me know the killers had already been inside.

Colombian prosecutor

Attorney General and other investigators said in interviews with Human Rights Watch that they believe that the group behind a series of assassinations and terror campaigns over the last three years has been military intelligence. Although the Twentieth Brigade, which centralized military intelligence, was officially dismantled in 1998 and intelligence units supposedly lost their ability to mount operations, evidence strongly suggests that agents were simply redistributed to intelligence units in existing brigades and battalions. Human Rights Watch has obtained information indicating that intelligence units continue to mount operations where human rights are violated.

The United States trains Colombian Army intelligence officers, but has not provided information publicly about what units they belong to. In FY 1999, for example, the United Sates trained four Air Force intelligence officers and two Army intelligence officers. In FY 1998, the U.S. trained six Army intelligence officers: four were stationed in intelligence headquarters in Bogotá, one was stationed in San Joséé del Guaviare, and one was stationed in the city of Santa Marta.(78)

In one of at least five similar cases, Attorney General investigators linked the 1998 kidnaping and later murder of Benjamin Khoudari, an Israeli businessman, to Thirteenth Brigade intelligence officers. According to the official indictment, Col. Jorge Plazas Acevedo planned and carried out a series of kidnapping for ransom and murder, including Khoudari's, as head of the intelligence unit.(79) In 1999, Plazas was retired from active duty and his case is now before a civilian court.(80)

Even after Acevedo's arrest, government investigators continue to link the Thirteenth Brigade to threats against human rights defenders. "The Thirteenth Brigade remains in crisis," a top government investigator told Human Rights Watch in October 1999.(81)

Surveillance believed to be carried out by military intelligence of human rights groups is open, aggressive, and threatening. One Bogotá group reported being filmed and photographed from a neighboring hotel. Many of the telephones used by human rights groups are openly tapped. Threats are daily occurrences. One office manager told Human Rights Watch that when they are trying to distribute an urgent action, the phone line is cut, preventing them from sending it via email or fax. Also, when they call out, they are frequently connected directly to the Thirteenth Brigade.(82)

In some killings -- like that of the CINEP workers in 1997 and Antioquia human rights defender Valle in 1998 - evidence gathered by government investigators strongly suggests that military intelligence acted in coordination with Carlos Castaño. Since Castaño has no force capable of operating in cities, he will contract out murders to La Terraza.(83)

According to government investigators, Castaño pays La Terraza a monthly retainer. Once a target is identified and a "contract" is negotiated with La Terraza, investigators believe, the killers are given intelligence gathered by the military on the target's whereabouts and movements. Killers are able to travel throughout Colombia, and typically work in pairs. The pair, mounted on a motorcycle, will follow and intended victim until they are ready to carry out an attack.(84)

Government investigators have also tied La Terraza to both the Popular Training Institute (Instituto Popular de Capacitación, IPC) and Senator Piedad Córdoba kidnapings, which they believe were carried out on Castaño's orders. Witnesses have sworn under oath that they recognized among the gunmen the La Terraza leader, Alexander Londoño, alias "El Zarco."(85) The most recent killing being investigated in association with La Terraza and its ties to military intelligence is that of Jaime Garzón, the humorist. A suspected La Terraza gunmen was arrested in Colombia in January 1999 in connection with the Garzón murder.(86)

Government investigators told Human Rights Watch that the intelligence system maintained by La Terraza is excellent and national in scope. They depend in part on fleets of taxis to collect intelligence, and have been linked to death threats against government investigators, including members of the Technical Investigations Unit (Cuerpo Técnico de Investigaciones, CTI) .(87)

One prosecutor told Human Rights Watch, "I signed one case to authorize an indictment of paramilitaries before lunch, and by the time I returned to my desk after eating, a death threat, hand delivered, was there, with intimate details about the decor of my apartment to let me know the killers had already been inside."(88)

Some formal investigations into key paramilitary leaders and their relationships to the military and La Terraza are made virtually impossible by these types of threats and the lack of protection for prosecutors, investigators, and key witnesses. In 1998 and 1999, a dozen CTI officials were murdered or forced to resign because of threats related to their work on human rights cases. Others have left the country in fear for their lives.(89)

Government investigators told Human Rights Watch that among the cases most damaged by La Terraza threats is the investigation into the murder of human rights defender Valle. One CTI agent investigating Valle's murder was killed soon after the murder. The prosecutor investigating the case fled Colombia. Another CTI investigator was killed in September 1999.(90)

The Thirteenth Brigade was also linked to the May 1998 seizure by authorities of the offices of the Intercongregational Commission on Justice and Peace, a respected human rights group. After retired general and former defense minister Fernando Landazbal was assassinated in Santafé de Bogotá on May 12, 1998, the Twentieth Brigade supplied information to the Attorney General's office linking the crime to activities that took place within Justice and Peace. The following day, Thirteenth Brigade soldiers seized the offices.(91)

Soldiers concentrated their search on the office of "Nunca Más," a research project that is collecting information on crimes against humanity. Soldiers forced employees to kneel at gun point in order to take their pictures, a gesture apparently meant to evoke a summary execution. During the search, soldiers addressed employees as "guerrillas" and filmed them and documents in the office. At one point, soldiers told the employees that they wanted precise details of the office in order to later construct a scale model, apparently to plan further incursions. After human rights defenders gathered outside out of concern, soldiers set up a camera to film them, an act of intimidation.(92)

In a recorded statement to the Colombian radio, Colombia's assistant attorney general, Jaime Córdoba Triviño, confirmed that the search was prompted by "military intelligence, which gave us a report that indicated that there were people associated with the ELN at this location . . . but once the prosecutors realized that this was an error, they suspended the operation."(93) In later reports, Attorney General Alfonso Gómez claimed that the Army had purposefully hidden the true nature of the work done at Justice and Peace from investigators.(94)

BACK TO THE TOP


Human Rights Watch

AmericasDivision

Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world.

We stand with victims and activists to bring offenders to justice, to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom and to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime.

We investigate and expose human rights violations and hold abusers accountable.

We challenge governments and those holding power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law.

We enlist the public and the international community to support the cause of human rights for all.

The staff includes Kenneth Roth, executive director; Michele Alexander, development director; Reed Brody, advocacy director; Carroll Bogert, communications director; Barbara Guglielmo, finance director; Jeri Laber, special advisor; Lotte Leicht, Brussels office director; Patrick Minges, publications director; Susan Osnos, associate director; Maria Pignataro Nielsen, human resources director; Jemera Rone, counsel; Malcolm Smart, program director; Wilder Tayler, general counsel; and Joanna Weschler, United Nations representative. Jonathan Fanton is the chair of the board. Robert L. Bernstein is the founding chair.

Its Americas division was established in 1981 to monitor human rights in Latin America and the Caribbean. José Miguel Vivanco is executive director; Joanne Mariner is deputy director; Joel Solomon is research director; Sebastian Brett and Robin Kirk are research associates; Monisha Bajaj and Barbara Graves are associates. Stephen L. Kass is chair of the advisory committee; Marina Pinto Kaufman and David E. Nachman are vice chairs.

Web Site Address: http://www.hrw.org

Listserv address: To subscribe to the list, send an e-mail message to [email protected] with "subscribe hrw-news" in the body of the message (leave the subject line blank).


1. Canal is listed as having trained at the School of the Americas in cadet orientation C-3 from Nov. 7-Nov. 21, 1980.

2. The name of "Elias" has been changed for security reasons. Human Rights Watch interview with "Elias," January 15, 2000.

3. The division includes units operating in the department of Putumayo, among them the 24th Brigade.

4. The ELN claimed in a statement that among the hostages were individuals wanted for drug trafficking by U.S. law enforcement, an affirmation that was never confirmed. Human Rights Watch interview with Attorney General investigator, January 14, 2000; "Los guerrilleros del Eln se tomaron por asalto la iglesia La María; rescatadas 75 personas," El Tiempo, May 31, 1999; and "ELN says its hostages include people wanted by US for drug trafficking," Agence France Presse, August 23, 1999.

5. Human Rights Watch interview with Attorney General investigator, January 14, 2000.

6. Human Rights Watch interview with "Elias," January 15, 2000.

7. For example, Human Rights Watch obtained much of the cable traffic generated by the embassy and related to the activities of "Los Tangueros," a paramilitary group led by former Medellín Cartel member Fidel Castaño, through a Freedom of Information Act request.

8. Human Rights Watch interview with "Elias," January 15, 2000.

9. Ibid.

10. "Los habitantes de La Moralia y Monteloro viven en medio de la zozobra," El País (Cali), August 3, 1999.

11. "Unos 150 hombres de las Autodefensas se tomaron la zona rural: Combate de 'paras' y guerrilla en Tulu," El País (Cali), August 3, 1999.

12. Human Rights Watch interview with Attorney General investigator, January 12, 2000.

13. "Familiares de los secuestrados rechazaron acusaciones del grupo guerrillero: 'Es absurda la afirmación del ELN'," El País (Cali), September 7, 1999.

14. Information about the Calima Front also circulated in press reports as early as August. Human Rights Watch interview with independent investigator, October 2, 1999; and "Colombia Death Squad Said To Plot Against Peace," Karl Penhaul, Reuters, August 15, 1999.

15. "Me dijeron que nos tenamos que ir, porque se iba a formar una guerra tremenda, y que regresara cuando todo terminara." "A Tulu, San Pedro y Buga llegaron huyendo ayer 460 campesinos: Avalancha de desplazados no cesa," El País (Cali), August 5, 1999.

16. "Una mujer fue asesinada: Cuatro personas están desaparecidas," El País (Cali), August 10, 1999.

17. "El terror se apoder la zona montañosa del Centro del Valle: Nuevas masacres," El País (Cali), September 25, 1999.

18. "generar caos y desinformación." "El general Jaime Cortés se refiere a la situacin que se vive en el Centro del Valle: 'Existen muchas contradicciones'," El País (Cali), August 22, 1999.

19. "Por las noches realizan disparos en albergues de Tulu: Sigue el drama de los desplazados," El País (Cali), October 28, 1999.

20. "Ya son dos mil los desplazados por la violencia en el Departamento Centro del Valle, albergue del temor," Hans Vargas Pardo, El País (Cali), September 25, 1999.

21. Human Rights Watch interviews, January 14 and 19, 2000.

22. Human Rights Watch interview with "Elias," January 15, 2000.

23. Human Rights Watch interview, September 29, 1999.

24. Human Rights Watch interviews, January 14 and 19, 2000.

25. Human Rights Watch interviews, January 14 and 19, 2000.

26. For a summary of this on-going case, see Comisión de Investigación de los Sucesos Violentos de Trujillo: Caso 11.007 de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (Santafé de Bogotá: Consejera presidencial para los Derechos Humanos de la República de Colombia, August 1995).

27. Gen. Rafael Hernández, reportedly Colombia's military attache in Chile, was then commander of the Third Brigade. As the primary trial court judge, he acquitted his subordinate, Lt. Col. Luis Becerra Bohórquez, despite compelling evidence of the officer's guilt. Becerra was eventually dismissed from the army. This was not the first atrocity Becerra committed as an Army officer. As the Tenth Brigade intelligence chief, he also helped arrange the 1988 massacres of banana workers in Antioquia's "Honduras" and "La Negra" farms. In October 1998, a military tribunal that had convened to review the Riofrío case ruled that Becerra and two other soldiers were guilty of the crime of "encubrimiento por favorecimiento," in essence concluding that the officers had erred only by protecting themselves by reporting the incident as combat with a guerrilla unit, not the massacre of unarmed civilians. However, the sentence meted out was laughable - twelve months in jail, less than a month per victim. Indeed, Becerra was never incarcerated. Becerra was killed by an unknown gunman in a Cali restaurant on February 14, 1999. For a summary of the case, see Massacre in Riofro ((Santafé de Bogotá: Commission of Non-governmental organizations).

28. Human Rights Watch communication with independent investigator, February 4, 2000.

29. Ospina is listed as having trained at the School of the Americas at least once, in a cadet orientation course held in 1967.

30. The division includes units operating in Meta, Guaviare, and Caquet.

31. Report of the Investigative Unit assigned to the Regional Attorney General's office in Medellín, Antioquia, February 10, 1998.

32. Human Rights Watch interview with Attorney General investigator, October 2, 1999; Attorney General Special Report No. 395, "Aseguramientos y capturas de presuntos miembros de las ACCU en Antioquia," June 10, 1998; and "Aseguran a fiscal por fuga de 'para' ," El Tiempo, October 14, 1998.

33. This wasn't the first time the ACCU entered this area. In 1996, the group murdered three people in the hamlets of El Inglés and La Granja. Human Rights Watch interview with Attorney General investigator, Medellín, Antioquia, July 2, 1996.

34. Human Rights Watch interviews with El Aro survivors, Medellín, Antioquia, December 11, 1997; and Human Rights Watch interview with Jesús Valle, president, "Héctor Abad Gómez" Permanent Human Rights Committee, Medellín, Antioquia, December 11, 1997.

35. Javier Arboleda, "Cinco días de infierno en El Aro," El Colombiano, November 14, 1997.

36. Amnesty International Urgent Action 01/97, January 3, 1997.

37. "Los desplazados no se vean en el norte de Antioquia," El Tiempo, November 6, 1997.

38. Human Rights Watch telephone interview with "Héctor Abad Gómez" Permanent Human Rights Committee, February 27, 1998; and Human Rights Watch interview with Attorney General Alfonso Gómez Méndez, May 7, 1998.

39. Government investigators told Human Rights Watch that La Terraza is descended from the groups that worked on contract for drug kingpin Pablo Escobar in the 1980s. Testimony of Francisco Enrique Villalba Hernández to the Attorney General's office, April 30, 1998; and Human Rights Watch interview with Attorney General investigator, October 2, 1999.

40. Authorities told Human Rights Watch that Salvatore Mancuso Gómez is Carlos Castaño's operational chief within the ACCU. The Attorney General has issued at least two warrants for his arrest related to paramilitary activity and kidnapping. Report on outstanding arrest warrants, Attorney General's office, January 1, 1998.

41. Testimony of Francisco Enrique Villalba Hernández to the Attorney General's office, April 30, 1998.

42. "Estaban planeando la entrada al Aro y como se iba a operar abajo, para que el ejrcito no dejara Paísar a personas o no fuera a pasar comiciones (sic), ni periodismo." Ibid.

43. "Al momentico de tener contacto que duramos tres horas llegó un helicoptero del ejército, ahí nos bajó lo que fue elementos de salud y munición." Ibid.

44. Ibid.

45. "Autodefensas de Urabá niegan barbarie en El Aro," El Colombiano, November 15, 1997.

46. "Si le entregamos un guerrillero al Batallón Girardot, por cambio de granadas y munición de R 15... Y el ejército cuando lo recibió le puso camuflado." This is most likely AR-15 ammunition. The AR-15 is the Colt company's name for the M-16 assault rifle. Testimony of Francisco Enrique Villalba Hernández to the Attorney General's office, April 30, 1998.

47. Human Rights Watch interview with Attorney General prosecutor, October 2, 1999.

48. War Without Quarter: Colombia and International Humanitarian Law (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1998), pp. 48-49.

49. Human Rights Watch interview with Col. (ret.) Carlos Velásquez, Santafé de Bogotá, May 12, 1997.

50. Human Rights Watch interview with former army officer, Santafé de Bogotá, November 12, 1995.

51. Gen. Ramírez retired from the service in 1999. Tonny Pérez Mier, "Balance de I División del Ejército," El Tiempo, December 23, 1997; Human Rights Watch interview with General Bonett, Santafé de Bogotá, December 12, 1997.

52. "Colombian Army's Third in Command Allegedly Led Two Lives: General Reportedly Served as a Key CIA Informant While Maintaining Ties to Death Squads Financed by Drug Traffickers," Douglas Farah and Laura Brooks, Washington Post, August 11, 1998.

53. "Cuatro militares a juicio por crimen de Alex Lopera," El Tiempo, October 13, 1999.

54. Hernández is listed as having trained twice at the School of the Americas. As a cadet, he took the orientation for combat weapons from March 7-April 19, 1985. As a lieutenant, he trained in "psychological operations" from February 27-May 15, 1991. For safety reasons, we have changed the name of this witness. Testimony by "Valentín" to the Attorney General's office, June 22, 1999.

55. Ibid.

56. "Hernández nos dijo a todos los que estábamos ahí, que mucho cuidado, que él que se tuerza se muere, con toda la familia; dijo que él tenía gente que le hacía ese trabajo." Ibid.

57. Fino is listed as having taken a course on Cadet Orientation C-34 (Mechanized) at the School of the Americas from June 28-July 26, 1989.

58. Testimony by "Valentín" to the Attorney General's office, June 22, 1999.

59. Testimony of Carlos Mario Escudero to the Attorney General's office, June 1, 1999.

60. "(Hernández) le dijo a todos los integrantes del Granaderos como debían declarar, a cada uno le dijo que debía decir." Testimony by "Valentín" to the Attorney General's office, June 22, 1999.

61. Testimony by "Valentín" to the Attorney General's office, June 23, 1999.

62. Testimony by "Valentín" to the Attorney General's office, June 1, 1999.

63. Clavijo was listed as having trained at the School of the Americas from July 1-July 17 of 1981 in an orientation and weapons for cadets (C-3) program.

64. "Normalmente en el rea donde estaba el Mayor Clavijo, haban desaparecidos, muertos, y por donde se Paísaba siempre llegaba citatorias de demandas." Testimony by "Valentín" to the Attorney General's office, June 23, 1999.

65. Ibid.

66. "Por la monitoría escuché gente hablando de combates, pidiendo apoyo, por otro tipo de comunicaciones diferentes a las nuestras, yo reconocí que eran las autodefensas por la forma de hablar... el Mayor Abondano [of the Fourth Brigade] dió la orden a la tropa por radio, que avanzaran, que siguieran con el eje que llevaban, que los primos estaban en combates y necesitaban apoyos." Ibid.

67. Testimony by "Valentín" to the Attorney General's office, June 1, 1999.

68. Cortés is listed as having studied in the course on weapons orientation for cadets (C-3) at the School of the Americas from January 12-26, 1984.

69. Office of Special Investigations-Antioquia region, Report, September 21, 1998.

70. Arcila directed a CONVIVIR, an association of civilians authorized by the government to take part in intelligence-gathering and other activities. Sentencia Anticipada, 3687- (F 21.336), Juzgado Regional de Medellín, August 8, 1997.

71. An official investigation is on-going. Report by the Comisión de Bsqueda de Edgar Quiroga y Gildardo Fuentes, made up of the Programa por la Paz y Desarrollo del Magdalena Medio, Servicio Jesuita a Refugiados, Ministerio del Interior, Defensora del Pueblo, Red de Solidaridad Social, CREDHOS, Organización Femenina Popular, Comité de Solidaridad con los Presos Políticos, MINGA, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Peace Brigades International, and the Catholic Church, December 3, 1999.

72. Acción Urgente, "Campesinos del Valle del Ro Cimitarra, en el Magdalena Medio colombiano, son bombardeados y ametrallados por TroPaís Oficiales," CREDHOS and the Peasant Association of the Cimitarra River Valley (Asociación Campesina Del Valle Del Ro Cimitarra, ACVC ), January 18, 2000.

73. "La Casa Campesina, que les sirve de refugio, se quedó pequeña," Vanguardia Liberal, January 21, 2000.

74. Human Rights Watch interview, October 2, 1999; and "Cuatro militares a juicio por crimen de Alex Lopera," El Tiempo, October 13, 1999.

75. "El mayor David Hernández est sindicado de la muerte de lex Lopera," El Tiempo, July 1, 1999.

76. Testimony by "Valentín" to the Attorney General's office, June 1, 1999.

77. Human Rights Watch interview with Attorney General prosecutor, October 2, 1999.

78. U.S. Department of Defense and Department of State, "Foreign Military Training & DOD Engagement Activities of Interest: A Report to Congress for Fiscal Years 1998 and 1999," (Section 581 Report), CD-ROM, 1999.

79. Plazas reportedly attended the School of the Americas and took a course on Small Unit Infantry Tactics from Jan. 24-March 4, 1977. Human Rights Watch interview with Attorney General investigator, October 5, 1999.

80. Col. Bernardo Ruiz, the former Twentieth Brigade commander currently charged with masterminding the 1995 murder of conservative leader lvaro Gómez, told the newsweekly Semana that he had worked closely with Plazas. "Revolción en Brigada XIII," El Espectador, July 21, 1999; and "Valgo más muerto que vivo," Semana, September 13, 1999.

81. Human Rights Watch interview with Attorney General investigator, October 5, 1999.

82. Human Rights Watch interview, October 5, 1999.

83. Human Rights Watch interviews with Attorney General investigators, October 5 and 9, 1999.

84. Ibid.

85. Ibid.

86. Human Rights Watch interviews with Attorney General investigators, October 5; and "Asegurado presunto asesino de Garzón," El Tiempo, January 19, 2000.

87. Human Rights Watch interviews with Attorney General investigators, October 5 and 9, 1999.

88. Human Rights Watch interview with Attorney General prosecutor, October 10, 1999.

89. Human Rights Watch interviews with Attorney General investigators, October 5 and 9, 1999.

90. Human Rights Watch interview with Attorney General investigators, October 5, 1999.

91. The link between the information supplied by the Twentieth Brigade and the use made of it by the Thirteenth Brigade was confirmed in government investigations contained in a subsequent Procuradura investigation completed on December 18, 1998. Public Statement, Justice and Peace, May 19, 1998; and "Ejercito busca al ELN en una casa de Paz," El Espectador, May 14, 1998.

92. Public Statement, Justice and Peace, May 19, 1998.

93. "Inteligencia militar nos proporcionó un informe que indicaba que en este lugar se encontraban personas asociadas al ELN, por eso realizamos el allanamiento, pero al darse cuenta los fiscales que adelantaban una operación por error, se detuvo la diligencia." Allanamiento a ONG, fue error de inteligencia, advierte Vicefiscal," RCN broadcast, May 14, 1998.

94. "A calificar servicios," Semana, May 25, 1998

BACK TO THE TOP

Sours: https://www.hrw.org/reports/2000/colombia/

Similar news:

article navigation

you do not currently have access to this article.

download all slides

sign in

don't already have an oxford academic account? register

you could not be signed in. please check your email address / username and password and try again.

close

sign in via your institution

sign in

purchase

subscription prices and ordering

short-term access

to purchase short term access, please sign in to your oxford academic account above.

don't already have an oxford academic account? register

impact of paternal education on epigenetic ageing in adolescence and mid-adulthood: a multi-cohort study in the usa and mexico - 24 hours access

eur €27.00

gbp £20.00

usd $35.00

clearance discount stores COLOMBIAN Army Colombia BDU NATO Digital Camo Camouflage Uniform SET CL6 (GB) Delivery

sign in or create an account

closeSours: https://thefourthmirror.com/COLOMBIAN-Army-Colombia-BDU-NATO-Digital-Camo-Camouflage-Uniform-SET-CL6-GB-2050041.html


311 312 313 314 315