Skip to content

Colombia Truth Commission’s Final Report Bolstered by National Security Archive Documents

July 8, 2022

Last week the Colombia Truth Commission wrapped up three-and-a-half years of work with the launch of its June 28, 2022, report on the causes and consequences of Colombia’s conflict. The publication of the Commission’s findings and recommendations is an important step forward in guaranteeing the rights of victims and of Colombian society to know the truth about what happened, to build a foundation for coexistence among Colombians, and to ensure that such a conflict is never repeated. The Commission’s report makes sweeping recommendations about the role of Colombia’s security forces, denouncing the concept of the “internal enemy” and the systematic victimization of Colombia’s political left. The report also condemns decades of punitive counternarcotics programs backed — at times forcefully — by the U.S. and that the Commission says aggravated the conflict. 

Among the many sources consulted by the Commission in reaching its conclusions were thousands of declassified U.S. documents gathered and organized by Mike Evans, director of the Archive’s Colombia Project. Evans’ June 28, 2022, posting, “There is future if there is truth”: Colombia’s Truth Commission Launches Final Report, focuses on six key declassified documents, including a CIA operational report — normally outside the purview of FOIA— that reveals contemporaneous U.S. knowledge that the Colombian military was engaged in a persistent pattern of collaboration with paramilitary operations. The CIA report finds that much of the violence against “suspected leftists and communists” in Medellín and Urabá was the result of Colombian Army intelligence “B-2” detachments from the 4th and 10th brigades working in coordination with narcotraffickers and paramilitary groups.  The reporting officer said it was “unlikely” that such coordination took place “without the knowledge of the Fourth Brigade commander.” 

The posting also details U.S. links to Colombian narcotraffickers and paramilitary groups. One February 4, 1992, DEA cable shows the DEA mission in Bogotá reported potential threats against its personnel related to their relationship with Luis Meneses (“Ariel Otero”), the assassinated paramilitary leader in the Magdalena Medio. The posting also highlights high-level Defense Department records, including a July 2003 memo to Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld, showing how the Pentagon’s metrics for success against Colombian insurgents may have contributed to the “false positives” phenomenon, whereby Colombian Army officers seeking performance bonuses murdered civilians and presented them as guerrillas killed in combat. 

Evans’ work was featured in the June 28, 2022, New York Times article, Declassified documents highlight the U.s. role in Colombia’s conflict, and the July 2nd, 2022, El Spectador article, Los archivos secretos de Estados Unidos sobre Colombia.

For more Archive documents on Colombia, see the October 4, 2021, post, Declassified Documents Key to Judgment Against Colombian Paramilitary, the August 31, 2020, post “The Friends of “El Viejo”: Declassified Records Detail Suspected Paramilitary, Narco Ties of Former Colombian President Uribe, and the Colombia Project page.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: