CONTAGIO RADIO, December 23, 2021

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

The organizations and victims that were able to take part in the hearing to which the JEP had summoned Dairo Antonio Úsuga, known as “Otoniel”, a member of the command staff of the AGC, have expressed their concern about the guarantees of security for them, and also for Úsuga, given that several of his statements have leaked to the press. In addition, they consider themselves threatened and intimidated by the custodial personnel in the investigation by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace.

According to a letter that was disclosed by the communities, they are afraid of reprisals for having listened to Úsuga’s testimony, since some of the information he supplied was leaked to the press, even before it was heard by the victims who have been waiting to hear the whole truth.

Besides that, they have complained about the fierce intimidation and threats that “Otoniel” experienced, coming from the custodial personnel. They were demanding, by pushing him and threatening him, that he tell who it was that he would be betraying and what else he was planning to say.

According to the communities, those activities put them on the alert, because they could imply serious consequences for him, but also for the people who listened to the testimony he gave. They even said that their fear that the whole truth would be covered up is coming to pass, considering that a lot more testimony was expected, testimony that would clarify other real happenings, like the birth of the AGC and the hidden agendas behind that organization.

They are requesting authorization for a humanitarian visit to verify Úsuga’s security conditions.

They have asked for an urgent humanitarian intervention with the participation of the Public Defender’s Office, as well as international agencies. They also want the JEP to take the necessary security measures to guarantee that Úsuga can continue furnishing the whole truth.

“We call on the JEP to act promptly to request visits by the Public Defender, the CICR, and the United Nations Mission to Verify the Peace Agreement, so that they can request admission to the detention facility where the witness who was called at our request to testify before the JEP is being confined. We request that the JEP order interim equitable relief protecting all of the communities and families who demanded these closed hearings.”

They also called for the truth-telling commenced by “Otoniel” to be received as having value, and for guaranteeing the rights of the victims to the truth, to reparation, and guarantees of no repetition, because that is the central focus of the Peace Agreements, and the central focus of the actions that the Special Jurisdiction for Peace must take.

The truths that “Otoniel” has begun to recite.

Among Dairo Antonio Úsuga’s narratives, the victims and the organizations that support them, such as the Peace and Justice Commission, heard his assurance that the AGC was disposed to undertake a process of submission, and to participate in the justice system. That had been cut short by the former Attorney General, who was legally and politically opposed to such a process. But it would have provided very significant relief for the indigenous, Afro-Colombian, and mestizo communities where the AGC are present.

“Looking at this situation, we observe that Otoniel’s story reflects the failure of the incomplete and piecemeal processes with the EPL. In the mid-90’s, a signed peace was left in the hands of Carlos Castaño, and he used it to build the paramilitary organization, ACCU. All of that happened in the period when Álvaro Uribe Vélez was Governor of Antioquia. There are clues left of the expansions of the paramilitary organizations at the national level, and of the deep-seated reasons based on inequality, frustrations, injustices, and pains that led to going to war, just to survive.”

Another relevant aspect in Úsuga’s first approaches to the whole truth of the war lies in the origin of the AGC. It’s related to the murders of the former members of the AUC who were starting to tell the truth about how that paramilitary organization functioned, and about its connections with regional and national political interests.

Additionally, and as one of his key themes, Dairo Antonio Úsuga was ready to reveal the political and economic interests of a political sector that would be benefited by the murder of social leaders, and that is still hidden under a shroud of darkness that the country must lift.

“We are hoping that all of the guarantees we have requested will be provided, so that the whole truth can come to light. Because of our concerns, we urge that the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, JEP, will require the Public Defender’s Office and the International Red Cross, CICR, to conduct an urgent humanitarian intervention to determine the condition of Dairo Úsuga in his place of detention. For these reasons, the communities of Somos Génesis reiterate their call to the U.S. government and Colombian institutions to guarantee a process of access and custody of the truths that the former head of the AGC can continue to provide with his testimony. This will be a very important contribution to providing the No Repetition that the victims

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