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Fri Mar 31, 2017, 06:24 PM

Pablo Escobar's Hitman to March with Uribe, Colombia's Far Right

John Jairo Velasquez, alias "Popeye," is an assassin who will be marching with former
President Alvaro Uribe. | Photo: AFP

Published 31 March 2017 (8 hours 21 minutes ago)

. . .

One of Colombia’s most notorious drug traffickers is set to join in an anti-government march against corruption tomorrow with far-right former President Alvaro Uribe.

John Jairo Velásquez Vásquez, more commonly known as “Popeye,” was a former hitman for infamous Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar and his Medellin cartel. Uribe, a staunch critic of President Juan Manuel Santos’ government peace deal with the FARC rebel group, is a key figure in the planned march along with his Democratic Center Party. Other far-right figures, including former Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez, are supporting the demonstration.

During his time working for Escobar, Velasquez is estimated to have killed around 300 people and oversaw countless more murders against rival gang members, journalists, judges, activists, police and paramilitaries.

He was only convicted of one murder, the assassination of presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan in 1989, before being released in 2014. Following his release, Velasquez has gained a large social media presence and is a self-described “political activist and defender of human rights.”


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