One of Colombia’s most violent paramilitary commanders, known as Macaco, confessed to the murder of 4,000 civilians during the country’s long-running civil war. Yet when he was extradited to the United States and sent to prison in 2008, it wasn’t for the heinous crimes under his command, but for drug trafficking charges. CJA is suing Macaco for torture, extrajudicial killing, crimes against humanity and war crimes so his victims can finally see justice served.
On July 16, 2001, Eduardo Estrada and a relative were walking down a street in their Colombian town of San Pablo when a paramilitary soldier approached the pair and fired three bullets into Eduardo’s head.
The shooting occurred about 300 meters away from a local police station, and a group of government soldiers passed by the scene shortly afterwards; yet neither the police nor the soldiers provided assistance. Eduardo died that night in a local hospital.
Eduardo had been a leader of the social justice organization Program for Peace and Development in the Middle Magdalena (PDP). His assassin was a member of the right-wing paramilitary group known as the Bloque Central Bolívar (BCB), a group controlled by Carlos Mario Jiménez Naranjo, known as Macaco.
Alma Rosa Jaramillo Lafourie was another victim. Because of her work as a human rights attorney and a leader of the PDP, the BCB denounced her as a left-wing rebel sympathizer and repeatedly threatened her at her home. On July 1, 2001, parts of Alma Rosa’s body were recovered from a river. She had been tortured, mutilated and dismembered.
In 2008, Macaco was extradited from Colombia to the United States on international drug trafficking charges, for which he is currently serving a 33-year sentence in Florida.
In 2010, CJA filed suit against Macaco on behalf of surviving family members of Eduardo and Alma Rosa. The complaint alleged torture, extrajudicial killing, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
Macaco has never been criminally prosecuted for human rights offenses, neither in the United States nor in Colombia. Given the length of his prison sentence, CJA’s civil case is the only chance for Macaco’s victims to obtain some measure of justice.