Colombia: What is the Pistol Plan and Why Does it Remind Us of the Worst Times of Pablo Escobar?

The drug trafficker discharged in 1993 has been much mentioned in recent days in that country, due to the onslaught that paramilitary groups began against the Public Force. Are the times of Pablo Escobar coming back? .

Man loading a gun

Photo: Unsplash

LatinAmerican Post | Christopher Ramírez Hernández

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Leer en español: Colombia: ¿Qué es el Plan Pistola y por qué recuerda a las peores épocas de Pablo Escobar?

In August 2016, the Colombian Government, then led by President Juan Manuel Santos, signed a Peace Agreement with the now extinct FARC guerrilla, in what was considered by many to be the end of the war in Colombia; Nothing further from the truth.

Since then, thousands of people have been killed, a clear example being the more than 1,300 social leaders and signatories of the Agreement killed in the last six years, according to records from the Institute of Studies for the Development of Peace (Indepaz).

However, the Public Force has also been a victim of violence in Colombia, with paramilitary groups as the main executioners in recent weeks. This is demonstrated by the murder of at least 12 police officers since June 19, when the second presidential round was held in that country, a record detailed by the Resource Center for Conflict Analysis (CERAC). In the year there have already been 25 uniformed victims of this public order situation.

The Police as an Objective of War?

These murders have not been a matter of “combat casualties”, but are the direct result of a macabre plan orchestrated by the Clan del Golfo, a redoubt of the former United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) and other paramilitary groups. They have increased terrorist practices against the Colombian state in retaliation for the extradition to the United States of Dairo Antonio Úsuga, alias “Otoniel”, its top leader.

Likewise, the RCN media revealed audios in which a member of this organization spoke about the strategy of attacking the police. The police assured that the Clan del Golfo had initiated an attack not seen in recent years against the members of the urban Public Force, in which a price was placed on the head of the uniformed men in the country, especially those who provide their service in the Caribbean region (north).

According to information obtained by this institution, the assassins would be paid between 4 and 22 million colombian pesos (1,000 to 5,000 dollars) for each dead police officer.

It may interest you: What Do Businessmen Think of Gustavo Petro and His Next Government in Colombia?

What Do the "Presidents" Say in Colombia?

Since June 19, Colombia has two presidents: one in office and one elected; and of course, this situation has not been alien to either of them. From the Casa de Nariño, President Iván Duque assured that Colombia cannot let itself be intimidated by the violence exerted by the Clan del Golfo. According to him, what this paramilitary group seeks with this is to show power and, in this way, force the incoming government of Gustavo Petro to negotiate an exit to the armed conflict with them.

They are trying to gain space for negotiation because they are looking for a process, I would not say amnesty, but a benevolent treatment with justice and the truth is that we must continue fighting these bandits as we have done in this government”, said Duque. For his part, Petro has rejected the attacks against the Police and put on the debate the situation of pain that the families of the murdered uniformed men are experiencing. “I will look with special care at the state of the families of the members of the Public Force who have fallen in the line of duty," Petro said on his Twitter account.

However, contrary to Duque's message, the president-elect has not hesitated, like his future team of ministers, to ensure that he will try to dialogue with the Clan del Golfo and the other armed groups in the country.

“Of course there will be dialogue. They know. We are going to seek total peace,” said Álvaro Leyva, Foreign Minister of Petro, just after the paramilitary groups said they were willing to coordinate a ceasefire on August 7, the day of the inauguration of the leader of the Colombian left.

The Resurrection of Pablo Escobar?

With all this, the even sadder reality is that the murder of the police officers in Colombia has brought, both to its authorities and to its citizens, memories of a past that nobody wants to remember: the war between the State and Pablo Escobar.

As is the case today, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the late Colombian drug lord focused his attacks on the National Police, offering between one and three million pesos for each of them, according to their rank.

“At that time (that of Pablo Escobar) the attacks were ordered due to the pressure that the Police were exerting for the capture. Now, we have it clear due to the intelligence and information gathering of the instructions that 'Chiquito Malo' has given to generate these actions to divide our effort to avoid an operation against them,” said General Jorge Luis Vargas, director of the National Police.

By then, it was “common” to see between two and three dead police officers in Medellín every day, although there were days when this number rose to ten. Of course, it was also normal to see families destroyed by a war that ended up permeating every corner of the Public Force, with some high-ranking officers selling themselves to Escobar's service, either to save their lives or to make money at the cost of the lives of others: their own peers.

Is this the objective behind which the Clan del Golfo is going: to have control over the Police and thus manipulate Colombian institutions?

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