Colombian President Thanks Venezuela for Arrest of Paramilitaries

Colombian President Thanks Venezuela for Arrest of Paramilitaries

By Dialogo
February 08, 2012

On February 6, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos thanked Venezuela for the arrest of the paramilitary leaders alias “Martín Llanos” and alias “Caballo” [Horse].

Santos said that the arrests were very significant because these individuals “were the only paramilitary leaders who did not want to submit to the Judicial and Peace process.”

The bulk of the paramilitary organization United Self-defense Units of Colombia, which committed thousands of crimes against the civilian population and are still under investigation, demobilized between 2003 and 2006 in a peace process promoted by former president Álvaro Uribe’s administration (2002-2010).

As part of this process, they were granted procedural benefits in exchange for truthful information about their acts and reparation for their victims.

“Martín Llanos (Héctor Buitrago Parada) played a leading role in one of the bloodiest wars of the Eastern Plains [neighboring Venezuela] and left hundreds, I would say thousands, of victims; he made pacts with the FARC to divide up the drug trade between them,” the president added.

Santos stated that drug trafficking has spread in recent years “to several countries of the continent, from Venezuela to Bolivia.”

He recalled that 11 arrest warrants were pending for “Martín Llanos,” on charges including aggravated homicide, forced disappearance, kidnapping for purposes of extortion, torture, narcotics trafficking, and terrorism.

Together with “Martín Llanos,” his brother Nelson Orlando Buitrago Parada, alias “Caballo,” was also arrested.

The Buitrago brothers were arrested in Venezuela on February 4, by agents of the National Anti-drug Office (ONA).

Both were being sought through Interpol on “charges of homicide, kidnapping, illicit drug trafficking, and criminal conspiracy,” and will be turned over “immediately” to Colombian authorities, Venezuelan Interior Minister Tareck El Aissami explained to the press.