Colombia and the United States agreed to speed up the exchange of legal evidence to prosecute former leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, in Spanish) Jesús Santrich, Iván Márquez, and other guerrillas who announced the creation of a new armed group, believed to be receiving protection from the Nicolás Maduro regime. Colombian Minister of Justice Margarita Cabello made the announcement in an interview with Voice of America.
Colombia hopes to access the testimony of Marlon Marín, a protected witness of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) who appears in a video with Santrich, allegedly negotiating a cocaine shipment to the United States, which occurred after the signing of the peace process.
“The government respects judicial independence but believes that there are elements, especially now that Santrich has fled the country and appears in a video announcing his return to criminal life. Now with the video, there is more evidence that Santrich was not respecting and abiding by the peace accord nor leading a law-abiding life in our country,” Cabello said.
The Colombian minister of Justice added that: “The government of Colombia is concerned that the Venezuelan government might have given them safe haven, as seems to be the case. Those who have respected the agreement and abide by the law will be protected, and all steps in that peace accord will be respected. But those who leave the accord, as in the case of these criminals, will be punished with the full force of the law.”
In the interview with Voice of America, Cabello said that the proof the United States has and Marín’s testimony are important so that red notices can be enforced against FARC dissidents who, according to the Colombian government, are hiding in Venezuela.
The minister also claims that Cuba isn’t cooperating, and says that FARC and National Liberation Army (ELN, in Spanish) leaders might be moving between Venezuela and Cuba.
“We have problems with Cuba,” she added. “In fact, we have requested the extradition of some ELN members who are in Cuba, but we haven’t received any response in that regard. We haven’t had enough collaboration from them, which is worrisome.”