Why paramilitary groups still exist in Colombia
written by Adriaan Alsema March 20, 2017
Colombia’s government denies the existence of paramilitary groups in the country, ignoring the fact that these extreme-right drug trafficking groups have existed (and whose existence has been denied) since the 1980s.
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Both the late “Cuchillo” and the imprisoned “Don Mario,” the respective founders of ERPAC and the AGC, started their clandestine career in the Medellin cartel, before switching to “Los Pepes,” the anti-Escobar paramilitary group that helped Colombian and United States authorities kill Escobar in 1993.
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In spite its unprecedented cruelty, the AUC received active support from both the Colombian military, the private sector and elements within the government, all of whom were unable to counter the increasingly powerful guerrillas.
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Ahead of a 2005 peace deal, the AUC began demobilizing its blocs in 2003, confiding that their long time ideological ally Uribe would cut them a good deal, which he did.