“Mr. ‘Otoniel’, you are very important for the peace of our country”: victims’ organizations

December 24, 2021

File photo. Dairo Antonio Úsuga David, alias “Otoniel”, top leader of the Gulf clan, is photographed after being captured, in Bogotá, Colombia, October 23, 2021. Colombian National Police / via REUTERS

A group of victims’ organizations and indigenous communities from Urabá Antioqueño and Chocó sent a letter to Dairo Antonio Úsuga David, alias Otoniel, the top leader of the Clan del Golfo, asking him to contribute to the consolidation of peace in the country.

During the participation of Otoniel, head of what is considered the largest drug trafficking and criminal gang in Colombia, in the proceedings before the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), the organizations asked him to contribute with the truth.

We want you to listen to us, to see us and for many truths to be directly known to us. We do not want revenge, or hatred. We understand that you made the best decision to preserve your life and achieve speedy freedom. Perhaps for us it is very difficult for you to be extradited to the United States ”, indicates the letter formed by 15 organizations.

They also pointed out that the extradition of the leader of the Gulf Clan, who was captured in a military operation, to the United States, a country where he is wanted for drug trafficking, is a “loss of memories and territorial truths”, which would generate that impunity in the country is prolonged and deceptive speeches continue, generating more violence.

For this reason, they indicated that they hope that the JEP will submit him for his actions since the 1980s, in which he was part of the Popular Liberation Army (EPL), until November 2016, when he was already the maximum head of the The largest drug trafficking and criminal gang in the country, with the intention that it should be understood that what continues to happen in the country is a consequence of recent history.

“We regret that you are leaving the country. Among rural inhabitants who have suffered violence, we can find ways to make our countryside, real places of peace, protection of waters, forests, to give our heirs and our country, territories of well-being, and this is possible only if the truth is told by you, the truth that you know, know, and if you were in the territories for the restoration of your life and those of all communities“Said the organizations.

On the other hand, they asserted that the country continues to experience a series of consecutive violence, which some suffer and others “live from it”, indicating that wars allow them to do good business, however, they pointed out that for them life does not it is no business and the war has made them victims of sexual violence, assassinations, threats, displacement, dispossession and judicial persecution.

At the same time, they highlighted that although the peace process with the FARC guerrillas should have given the communities the hope of ending the armed conflict, this was not the case due to powerful sectors that have prevented the consolidation of the Final Peace Agreement.

“Today we invite you to say what is really possible for you, and we invite you to state before the JEP court, if you are willing to meet face to face with delegates of the communities that we sign here and we can dialogue in private to define wills about the truths and weave routes for this purpose“Said the organizations.

Finally, they reiterated to Otoniel that he was very important for peace in Colombia, and they knew that some powerful people wanted to “kill him”, which is why they understood that he is not going to tell everything he knows.


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