Colombian Colonel Alfonso Plazas Vega Sentenced To 30 Years For Forced Disappearances

June 10, 2010 7:00 am 0 comments
The Palace of Justice in Bogotá, Colombia.

The Palace of Justice in Bogotá, Colombia.

Today in Latin America

Top StoryColombian Colonel Alfonso Plazas Vega was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Wednesday, after being convicted of the forced disappearance of 11 people during the storming of the Palace of Justice in Bogotá in 1985.

The M-19, a left-wing guerrilla group that has since been disbanded, occupied the Palace and took judges hostage. The Army, led by Colonel Plazas, counterattacked and a day-long battle ensued, destroying the building and leading to the deaths of more than 100 people, according to The BBC.

Plazas was not convicted for violence that occurred during the battle, but rather of the forced disappearance of 11 survivors, who went missing after they left the Palace on Nov. 7, 1985, according to Colombian daily El Tiempo.

The conviction was seen as a landmark by Colombian human rights groups, The BBC reports.

Colombian President Álvaro Uribe criticized the decision, saying that Plazas was “a member of the Armed Forces of Colombia who was simply trying to fulfill his duty.”

Uribe made the comments at a press conference at the Casa de Nariño with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was visiting to discuss security issues and sign a bilateral agreement on science and technology.

Clinton affirmed the U.S. commitment to Colombian anti-drug and anti-insurgency efforts, regardless of who wins an upcoming, second-round presidential election.

“The United States has been proud to stand with Colombia and we will continue to stand with you in the future,” Clinton said at the press conference with Uribe, according to The Associated Press.

Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

Caribbean

Central America

Andes

Southern Cone

Image: justinrudisille @ Flickr.

Subscribe to Today in Latin America by Email

No Comments

Leave a Reply


Other News

  • Mexico North America Today in Latin America Mexican Troops Executed Victims in June Slayings, Rights Body Finds

    Mexican Troops Executed Victims in June Slayings, Rights Body Finds

    Top Story — Mexican troops executed up to 15 of the 22 suspected gang members killed in June in the small town of San Pedro Limón, according to an investigation by the government’s human rights agency. The account by Raúl Plascencia, president of the commission, contradicted several prior versions of a murky story offered at various stages by the military, the Attorney General’s office and an eyewitness. Plascencia called for prosecutors to investigate a potential cover-up by military officials. At […]

    Read more →
  • Caribbean News Briefs North America As World Series Begins, So Does ‘Latin American Pipeline’ to MLB

    As World Series Begins, So Does ‘Latin American Pipeline’ to MLB

    When the opening pitch is thrown Tuesday night in game one of the World Series, a number of Latin American players will be front and center under the bright stadium floodlights. What won’t be on display, however, are some of the darker stories behind how many Latin Americans make it to play in Major League Baseball in the first place. This season, Latin American players made up close to a quarter of all MLB players — a staggering 86 percent of […]

    Read more →
  • Chile Southern Cone Today in Latin America Pinochet Bodyguard and Ex-Mayor Arrested in Santiago

    Pinochet Bodyguard and Ex-Mayor Arrested in Santiago

    Top Story — Chilean authorities have arrested a former aide to Gen. Augusto Pinochet, accusing him of committing various atrocities under the 1973-1990 military dictatorship. A judge on Monday ordered the arrest of retired military colonel Cristian Labbe on charges of “unlawful association” with a group that ultimately became the DINA secret police force. Labbe was allegedly involved in the murder of 13 people under Pinochet’s dictatorship. Those 13 people, investigators found, were tortured and executed at the notorious Tejas […]

    Read more →
  • Caribbean Cuba Today in Latin America Latin American Ministers Will Meet in Havana to Discuss Ebola Fight

    Latin American Ministers Will Meet in Havana to Discuss Ebola Fight

    Top Story — Top health officials from several Latin American countries are meeting today in Havana, Cuba, to discuss joint efforts to combat Ebola, as fears grow over the virus’ potential to spread to the region. Leaders from the socialist ALBA bloc, which includes Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and several Caribbean countries, will meet to coordinate efforts following unilateral travel bans by several countries in the region. On Saturday, retired Cuban leader Fidel Castro penned a column in the […]

    Read more →
  • Brazil Southern Cone Today in Latin America Brazilian Man Confesses to Killing 39 People, Attempts Suicide in Jail

    Brazilian Man Confesses to Killing 39 People, Attempts Suicide in Jail

    Top Story — A Brazilian man confessed to committing at least 39 murders after police arrested him in the city of Goiânia on Thursday after a 70-day investigation. Thiago Henrique Gomes de Rocha, a 26-year-old security guard, seems to have targeted women, homeless people and homosexuals. De Rocha, who committed the murders over three years, approached his victims on a motorcycle before demanding their belongings and then shooting them. Police noted de Rocha’s “coldness” and extreme rage when recounting his […]

    Read more →
  • Andes Today in Latin America Venezuela Falling Oil Prices Raise Worries of Venezuela Default, Crisis

    Falling Oil Prices Raise Worries of Venezuela Default, Crisis

    Top Story — Analysts are worried about a new phase of economic chaos in Venezuela as falling oil prices continue to take their toll. Insurance rates on the country’s debt shot up Wednesday to a new high, more than three times the size of the rate in late June, after a drop in oil prices raised worries the country may fail to pay off its obligations to foreign bondholders. The spike in Venezuela’s bond insurance rates means it costs investors […]

    Read more →
  • Caribbean Haiti North America Today in Latin America U.N. Extends Controversial Peacekeeping Mission in Haiti

    U.N. Extends Controversial Peacekeeping Mission in Haiti

    Top Story — The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) will be renewed for another year, the U.N. Security Council announced on Tuesday. The council, composed of 15 nations, unanimously decided to renew the MINUSTAH mandate, though the number of military personnel in Haiti will be reduced from 5,000 to 2,370. The number of police personnel will remain unchanged. MINUSTAH was initially created in 2004 after former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted in a coup, leading to violence and […]

    Read more →
  • Mexico North America Today in Latin America Mexican Radio Host Shot Dead on the Air

    Mexican Radio Host Shot Dead on the Air

    Top Story — Mexican activist and radio host Atilano Roman Tirado was shot on-air during his weekly program Oct. 11 in the state of Sinaloa. Two gunmen forced their way into the radio studio of Fiesta Mexicana where Tirado hosted his Saturday morning program “Así es mi Tierra.” Listeners of the program could hear a shot fired around 10:40 a.m. followed by a co-worker’s voice saying, “he killed him.” Programming on the station did not resume for another 30 minutes. […]

    Read more →
  • Andes Bolivia Dispatches Bolivians in New York Cast Votes for President, Favoring Opposition

    Bolivians in New York Cast Votes for President, Favoring Opposition

    NEW YORK – When Bolivians in New York City cast their votes in a presidential election Sunday, most of them went against the trend that swept President Evo Morales into his third term. While Morales won around 60 percent of the vote in Bolivia, New York voters gave him just over a quarter of their vote, preferring instead the opposition candidate Samuel Doria Medina. The remote election in New York was held at a public school in the Latino enclave […]

    Read more →
  • Mexico North America Today in Latin America Mexico Arrests Another Drug Cartel Kingpin

    Mexico Arrests Another Drug Cartel Kingpin

    Top Story – Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, alleged leader of Mexico’s Juarez cartel, was captured in the Mexican city of Torreon, the Associated Press reports. This is the second arrest in two weeks of a major Mexican cartel leader, following that of Hector Beltrán Leyva, of the Beltran Leyva organization on Oct. 1. Nicknamed “The Viceroy,” or “The General,” Fuentes had a $5 million reward for his arrest in the United States and a $2.2 million reward in Mexico. He took […]

    Read more →