BOGOTA – Citing the “proven” complicity of government intelligence officers, Colombian prosecutors are asking the Attorney General’s Office to declare the 1989 assassination of reformist presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan a “state crime.”
Under Colombian law, a state crime is a crime against humanity and, as such, not subject to the statute of limitations.
In the absence of such a designation, the probe of the killing will automatically end on Aug. 18, prosecutor Gabriel Jaimes told reporters Wednesday.
“We have been arguing ... that the murder of Luis Carlos Galan was a state crime, by virtue (of the fact) that it has been fully demonstrated that agents of state actively and systematically participated in the assassination,” the prosecutor said.
The AG office recently confirmed that it has already summoned the man who was heading Colombia’s DAS security service in 1989, retired Gen. Miguel Maza Marquez, for questioning about the murder.
While pledging to comply with the subpoena, Maza Marquez has repeatedly said that he was victimized by the same people who killed Galan.
But prosecutors are suspicious of the erstwhile DAS chief because it was he who replaced several of Galan’s regular bodyguards just days before the politico was slain.
Besides Maza Marquez, the AG office plans to subpoena Virginia Vallejo, former television personality and erstwhile mistress of late drug lord Pablo Escobar, said to have ordered the assassination.
Carlos Hernando Galan, one of the murdered candidate’s three children, says the DAS will have to explain the conduct of some of the bodyguards assigned to his father as well as the spy agency’s role in sabotaging the original investigation.
Luis Carlos Galan was gunned down Aug. 18, 1989, during a rally in Soacha, near Bogota.
It was a leader of Colombia’s demobilized right-wing militias who first told prosecutors that the killing was the fruit of a conspiracy involving military officers, the DAS and drug kingpins.
Ernesto Baez said that Galan’s murder would not have happened “without the close involvement of the DAS and B-2 (a now-defunct military intelligence unit).”
He said the assassination was planned at a tourist attraction called Isla de la Fantasia (Fantasy Island) in the central Colombian town of Puerto Boyaca.
Present at the meeting, according to Baez, were Escobar and Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha, also now dead, along with DAS director Maza Marquez and an army general.
A crusader against political corruption and drug trafficking, Galan was favored to win the 1990 elections and his slaying was the climax of a bloody decade of “narcoterrorism” rife with hundreds of shootings. EFE