EL TIEMPO, April 15, 2012
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)
They add up to 1,000 million pesos (roughly USD $221,000 at today’s exchange rates), and they include the Navy. Defense Ministry says he’s a tourism entrepreneur.
A special group in the Colombian Army, with the help of CTI (Technical Investigation Corps) from the Attorney General’s Office, took an apartment by storm a couple of weeks ago. It’s located in the Unir neighborhood, in Engativá in west Bogotá.
The deployment of such force was for the purpose of capturing a 68-year-old man accused of atrocious murders in the heights of Cazucá, Soacha, and Ciudad Bolívar in southern Bogotá. According to the prosecutors’ accounts, he paid his hit men 400,000 pesos per kill (roughly USD $88 at today’s exchange rates), and between April and November of 2002, he had ordered the killing of 34 people.
A double life?
He’s accused of being the alleged armed boss and financier of the bloody Centaurs Bloc of the Self-Defense Forces and their tentacle in Bogotá, the Capital Bloc.
After his capture last March 22, he was introduced as Luis Alejandro Alfonso Salamanca, el “Tío” (“Uncle”), accused of setting off a persecution of community leaders, sex workers, and drug users.
EL TIEMPO researched his police record and has established that, although el “Tío” has been an alleged paramilitary ever since 2002, he is the same person who has affixed his signature on juicy contracts with the Colombian Army, the Police, the Navy, and even Satena.
This newspaper found contracts for at least 1,000 million pesos (roughly USD $221,000 at today’s exchange rates.)
Tortures and Contracts
In the documents EL TIEMPO has gone over, we saw among his companies, the Almari Travel and Tourism Agency, which offers tourism package services for various destinations within and without this country.
According to his arrest file, el “Tío” faded away after the paramilitary demobilization. But it also accuses him of a crime against a man in Villavicencio in July of 2003. This person was tortured, dismembered, wrapped in sacks and thrown into the Negritos River in the town (vereda) of Las Mercedes.
“For several years, he maintained the profile of a tourism entrepreneur and he went undetected by the authorities. However, with testimony furnished by parties under the Justice and Peace Law, and new evidence obtained by the prosecutors, it was discovered that he had a criminal past,” stated the Attorney General’s Office.
In effect, EL TIEMPO established that he appears as the signer of a contract with the Colombian Army in April of 2011, for 520 million pesos (roughly USD $115,000 at today’s exchange rates) “for supplying national airline tickets and land tickets for the brigade providing logistical support of the Health Battalion and the Support and Services Battalion for Combat N. 21 (ASPC) of the National Army.”
A year later, the Army contracted with him to supply air and land tickets—for 541 million pesos (roughly USD $ 120,000 at today’s exchange rates)—for officers, noncoms, and soldiers of the ASP No.21 logistical support Brigade Battalion, Health Battalion, and Military Police Battalion, and others accompanying the Armed Forces.
And in October of 2013, his agency signed another contract with the Navy, for seven million pesos (roughly USD $1,500 at today’s exchange rates) for supplying tickets to the central region.
Added to that was another contract between Almari Travel and Tourism and the Satena Airline. This was in effect from May 6, 2011 until March 31, 2012. The travel agency was to sell the tickets of the airline and to receive 1% of their value. And still another with the Police Revolving Fund, in July 2013, for 11 million pesos (roughly USD $ 2,500 at today’s exchange rates).
In EL TIEMPO’S investigation, we also found evidence that, in 2014, the Industrial Oils Company of the Sabana S.A.S., he changed the company name to Dinalturs Travel and Tourism, S.A.S., and in documents in 2015, Alfonso Salamanca figured as a stockholder in this new religious tourism company.
They’re confusing him (with someone else)
The company remains active and, in 2020, el “Tío” was its representative. EL TIEMPO contacted relatives of the defendant, and they said that it had all been a mistake and that they have filed civil rights actions asking that his legal situation be clarified and that he receive attention for his skin cancer.
“The accusations against him are based on two pieces of testimony by participants in Peace and Justice. They are mixing him up with someone else. He has never left this country and he is a contractor with government entities,” added his defense attorney, Attorney Boris Román.
And he added that his client has been the victim of combinations of problems, and they haven’t let anyone see him since he was captured. “We ask that his rights be respected.”