Friday, July 18, 2014

Colombia: Update--Retired DAS Director Charged in Assassination of 1989 Presidential Candidate

According to The Latin American Tribune, a Colombian former intelligence chief has been charged in the 1989 assassination of presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan.

The Attorney General’s Office before the Supreme Court filed the charges against retired Gen. Miguel Maza Márquez for the August 18, 1989, murder in a public square in the town of Soacha, located on Bogotá's outskirts.

An AG’s office statement said Maza Márquez was accused as alleged co-author of the crimes of criminal conspiracy and homicide in relation to the murder of Galan.

Maza Márquez also was accused of the same crimes with respect to the death of Santiago Cuervo Jimenez, Galan’s bodyguard, and Soacha town councilor Julio Cesar Peñaloza, who were slain in the same incident, the AG’s office said.

COMMENT: At the time of the assassination, Maza Márquez, who is currently jailed in Bogotá, was director of the now-defunct DAS (equivalent to the US FBI).

The shooting death of the then 45-year-old politician, who was the front-runner to succeed then-President Virgilio Barco, was blamed on an alliance between the Medellín cartel, headed by late drug lord Pablo Escobar, and political sectors and agents that opposed the restoration of an extradition treaty with the United States.

Galan had declared himself an enemy of the cartels and promised, despite death threats, to extradite drug kingpins to the United States if elected.