EL ESPECTADOR, January 17, 2021
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)
The former President, who had been a Minister in the Virgilio Barco administration, said that he never met, or knew anything about the activities of the Israeli spy Rafi Eitan, supposedly hired by that government, and who may have recommended the extermination of the members of the Patriotic Union Party. He did talk about the alleged responsibility of the former Director of the DAS.
In the midst of the controversy over the column by journalist Alberto Donadío, where he reveals a supposed relationship of the administration of President Virgilio Barco (1986-1990) to the extermination of the Patriotic Union Party (UP), this Sunday former President César Gaviria—who served as Minister of the Treasury and later as Minister of Government in that administration –referred to the episode and the alleged participation of the Israeli spy Rafi Eitan.
In an interview with the los Danieles site in which Donadío published his report, the former President insisted that, even though he knew of the spy’s existence—the spy hired to put together recommendations on ways to get rid of the FARC guerrillas, among them supposedly to “eliminate” the members of the UP—he never heard him speak or found out what he did. “I never heard anything that definite about Sr. Eitan. I did hear that he existed, but I never met him. I don’t know what he did. I don’t know what he signed, claimed Gaviria, who, regarding the extermination, attributed responsibility to Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha, alias El Mexicano, along with a group of paramilitaries, the Israeli mercenary Yair Klein, (who arrived in Colombia in the ‘80’s to train the paramilitaries) and to the former Director of the DAS, Miguel Maza Márquez.
In that vein, he insisted that both he and Barco made a mistake to trust Maza Márquez: “What mistake did Barco and I both make? We trusted General Maza and Barco trusted him blindly (…) Barco thought that Maza was a reliable person and he believed everything he said,” explained Gaviria, referring to the relationship between the DAS and Yair Klein as having set up the extermination of the UP.
“You have to look at what Maza did with Klein. The way he treated him and the way he would meet him at the airport with DAS cars,” he added. Nevertheless, asked if there had been a close relationship and a connection with the genocide between Yair Klein and the Israeli spy Rafi Eitan, Gaviria said he didn’t “have the remotest idea”.
The former President, in a venue also shared together with Alberto Donadío, said that it’s very difficult to verify the journalist’s investigation, because “it’s all hearsay” and today nearly all of the witnesses are dead.
In answer to that, the journalist not only defended what his source claims happened (a high official of the Barco administration) but also said he could verify that the spy had been hired, but not any meeting where he had recommended the extermination of the members of the UP. “That evidence will never exist, but as Professor Malcolm Deas (Barco’s biographer) admits, not everything that happens in a government can be found in the files.”
The journalist also answered Rafael Pardo, who was the Peace Councilor and Director of the National Rehabilitation Plan (PNR) for former President Barco. Pardo said he had no memory “of any Rafi Eitan”, or of meetings of any kind. “I’m sure that the cabinet didn’t find out about it. How would Rafael Pardo find out; he was just in his first public office. We can’t discount that there had been secret meetings in the Presidential Palace that the Ministers never found out about,” explained Donadío.
Faced with this, Gaviria said that Pardo knows the same as he does about that episode, that’s to say, little or nothing. “That was never either a public or a private subject. Nobody every talked about Sr. Eitan, nothing. About Yahir Klein, they did,” noted the former President.
 The DAS was the Administrative Department of Security in the Colombian government from 1960 to 2011, when it was dissolved.