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Viewing cable 06BOGOTA11398, POLITICAL UNCERTAINTY PROMPTS SPECULATION ABOUT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06BOGOTA11398 2006-12-21 19:07 2011-02-20 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bogota
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #1398/01 3551904
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 211904Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1489
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 7326
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 8537
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ DEC LIMA 4599
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA 9843
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 5257
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 3819
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHOND/DIRONDCP WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 011398 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/21/2016 
TAGS: ASEC KJUS PGOV PINR PREL PTER CO
SUBJECT: POLITICAL UNCERTAINTY PROMPTS SPECULATION ABOUT 
HIGH-PROFILE ASSASINATIONS 
 
REF: BOGOTA 11005 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William B. Wood. 
Reasons: 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
------- 
Summary 
------- 
 
1.   (C) There is widespread concern among Colombia's 
political elite about the possibility of violence directed 
against one or more political figures related to the ongoing 
para-political scandal.  Less clear is whether the concerns 
are based on solid information or speculation.  Polo 
Democratic leader Senator Gustavo Petro told El Tiempo on 
December 17 he feared for President Uribe's safety.  The 
security detail chief in the presidential palace told us they 
are taking the threats seriously.  End summary. 
 
-------------- 
Rumors Growing 
-------------- 
 
2.  (C) Colombian politicians from across the political 
spectrum have expressed concern to us that former 
paramilitaries may conduct a high-profile assassination 
("megacidio") to stem growing political pressure to punish 
them for their crimes.  General Oscar Naranjo, Director of 
the Colombian National Police Counterterrorism Directorate 
(DIJIN), told us on November 30 that presidential advisors 
Fabio Valencia and Bernardo Moreno were worried that 
paramilitaries feeling threatened might murder a leading 
public figure such as Liberal Senator Piedad Cordoba, Polo 
Senator Gustavo Petro, or a conservative political leader. 
Their concern was based on previous political crises where 
the goal of such attacks was to intimidate critics. 
 
3.  (C) Senator Roberto Gerlein, a Conservative Party leader, 
told us on December 6 that an unnamed "senior cabinet 
minister" had said to him he was worried about the increasing 
possibility of an assassination against a senior political 
figure that would "shake the country."  The minister did not 
say who would conduct the attack or who might be a possible 
target.  Gerlein added that Senator Miguel de la Espriella of 
the U Party, who recently revealed information about a secret 
meeting between a group of 40 politicians and the 
ex-paramilitaries in 2001, had publicly announced a threat 
against himself as well. 
 
4.  (C) Other sources say the "megacidio" could come from 
rogue members of the security services to prevent their names 
from being tied to paramilitaries.  Polo Senator Petro told 
us on December 7 he was worried about the possibility of a 
"megacidio," which could target any high-profile political 
leader, including himself or President Uribe.  He claimed the 
likely culprits would be members of the police or military 
who were at risk of having their ties to paramilitaries 
exposed.  In an El Tiempo interview on December 17, Petro 
said he feared for Uribe's safety based on information from 
sources he refused to identify.  He pointed to unnamed 
politicians, businessmen, and military and police officers as 
prospective plotters and said he had warned DAS Director 
Andres Penate of the danger. 
 
------------------------------------------- 
Presidential Palace Takes Threats Seriously 
------------------------------------------- 
 
5.  (C)  It is unclear to what extent the concerns about a 
high-profile political murder reflect facts or speculation, 
but the security detail chief in the presidential palace told 
us  they are taking the threats against Uribe seriously. 
They know Uribe's decision to transfer ex-paramilitaries to a 
maximum-security prison on December 1 has sparked resentment 
among the former paramilitary leaders and their supporters 
(ref A).  Security officials are following up on Petro's 
claims and are taking additional security measures. 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
6.  (C) We are also taking the rumors seriously, both as a 
security issue and a political issue. 
 
 
 
WOOD 

=======================CABLE ENDS============================