Santrich: Chronicle of an Announced “Escape”

Santrich didn’t escape; they let him go. Today, the High Court that set the guerilla leader free must give answers.

The left insists that Santrich should not jeopardize the Havana agreement. They try to minimize the issue, but it is an enormous disaster. (PanAm Post photo montage)

Santrich didn’t escape; They let him go.

When Santrich was released from prison, we Colombians knew what the next chapter of this tragic comedy would be. If a delinquent wanted for extradition in the United States got the opportunity to leave, he would obviously go.

In the strict sense of the word, Santrich didn’t “vanish” nor did he “escape.” The use of these words implied that someone was guarding and watching him and that he left without the guards noticing.

It is evident that Santrich’s security, thanks to the Havana agreement, mainly comprises people trusted by the FARC party.  They did not devote themselves to keeping an eye on him as a criminal. His guards are effectively his employees. They do what he says. Their role was to protect him from threats, not to prevent him from leaving.

It is ridiculous for anyone to claim that a visually impaired person, over 50 years old, managed to get out without his massive security system noticing.

Moreover, it’s almost normal for them to let him out. In fact, at this very moment, the guerrilla leader is not a “fugitive from justice.” There is no arrest warrant against him. No one knows where he is, but the request for extradition by the US is legality.

Santrich doesn’t have an arrest warrant in his name. Nothing prevents him from traveling anywhere in the Colombian territory. His guards are employees who have to obey him. He is not in prison. We must remember that he is an “honorable Congressman.”

So the least responsible in all this are the members of the FARC who watched him. Their mission was not to prevent him from leaving, but even if he had been, who trusts FARC or expects anything from them?

The guerilla managed to escape the punishment many Colombians wish to subject him to. However, strictly speaking, he did not escape the Colombian judicial system as there are no orders against him. Neither did he escape his security system which existed to take care of him and obey him, not to keep him hostage. Santrich simply left because they let him go. The Colombian judiciary decided that he could go if he liked.

What about those responsible for the “escape”?

The culprits then, who let the guerilla escape the just punishment that the society has been pleading for, are not Santrich’s guards. They are the judges who decided that one of the worst criminals in the country is not a delinquent; he is an “honorable Congressman.”

Let’s look at the issues one by one. What we seem to have here is a society between high courts that deliver verdicts in favor of the most radical left.

The JEP: The Special Jurisdiction for Peace is a transitional justice system created in Havana by Juan Manuel Santos and FARC. The JEP decided to reject the extradition of Santrich to the US. The whole country saw the video published by the DEA whereby a criminal is negotiating the shipment of export of narcotic drugs. However, Santrich was set free.

Well, it was clear what was going to happen with the JEP. It isn’t sensible to expect real justice from a tribunal that was created at a whim by those it is supposed to judge. Those who were naive and believed that the JEP would truly deliver justice now see the corruption scandals, money laundering, and senseless rulings.

It is nonsensical to demand anything from the JEP. The only solution is to end this transitional justice system.

The State Council: After rejecting the extradition of Santrich and granting him liberty, the tribunal continued to strike. It decided that although Santrich had not taken office, he maintains his seat as an “honorable Congressman.” They shamelessly dared to say that the FARC leader had been unable to occupy the place granted to him by the Havana agreement due to “reasons of force majeure.”

The Supreme Court of Justice: After the JEP decided to release Santrich, the Attorney General’s Office arrested him. The State Council and the Supreme Court were not willing to let the narco-terrorist free. Once the State Council decided that the criminal had not lost his parliamentary position and is an honorable Congressman, the Supreme Court was in charge of trying him and decided to set him free.

So it is the State Council and the Supreme Court of Justice that are ultimately responsible for Santrich not being behind bars today. It is they who must be held accountable. However, above all, the coup they are carrying out must be stopped. A group of judges has decided to put in Congress a narco-terrorist requested for extradition. They have not issued an arrest warrant against him. Instead, they have set him free.

All eyes should be on the State Council and the Supreme Court. The media should question them. Talking about an alleged “escape” and digressing about whether or not the employees noticed it doesn’t make sense.

And, of course, the members of the judiciary who have not been corrupted must raise their voice and act against the disaster we are witnessing. Saying nothing and doing nothing would imply that they are accomplices.

What’s coming for Colombia?

The left insists that what happened with Santrich should not jeopardize the Havana agreement. They try to minimize the issue. However, the disaster is enormous, and it is impossible to cover up.

The defenders of the agreement reduce everything to absurdity. What they are saying is that Santrich is a harmless elderly man and that in exchange for letting him go free, Colombia will achieve peace. However, the reality is that the guerilla was wanted for extradition because he is a drug trafficker, a murderer, and has committed all the offenses that the trafficking business in Colombia entails.

Santrich is not going to go home and watch television. He is going to continue what he has been doing for 30 years. Further, he will continue to lead thousands of men who will engage in criminal activities in the mountains.

It is not only Santrich. Rodrigo Londoño, alias “Timochenko,” also left Congress and at this moment, nobody knows where he is. The same goes for alias “El Paisa.” We have three guerrilla capos free, without a warrant and doing the only thing they know how to do: commit crimes.

To sum up, the situation is as follows: there are ten FARC guerrillas in the Congress of the Republic. Several of the most critical leaders do not have an arrest warrant and are free and dedicated to drug trafficking. The rank and file guerrillas continue to act in the same way as before, only now in the news, they are identified as “FARC dissidents.” Finally, most of the justice system seems to have been bought by the guerrillas.

Only a tiny minority of guerillas has stopped committing crimes. They want to dedicate themselves to other activities. However, the government doesn’t seem to have a clear plan to help them. It only talks about unsustainable subsidies.

Despite all this, are we going to keep insisting on the Havana agreement? Why are ten guerrillas still in Congress? While signing the agreement, the guerillas received incredible benefits such as seats in Congress because they promised that FARC would not return to crime. However, that has not happened.

Imagine a man who agrees with three people to buy a company. Two of the sellers, the most important ones, disappear and do not give him the company, but he inexplicably continues to pay the money to the remaining seller, simply because the subject assures that he is not to blame for what happens. The man will never receive the company, but he continues to give the money. That’s what’s happening in Colombia today.

It is not easy for President Ivan Duque to confront the judiciary, much of Congress, and the leftist media. He will have many opponents if he decides to fight the situation, but he must act urgently.

The guerillas did not face persecution during Juan Manuel Santos’ term. They became stronger such that they are one of the wealthiest terrorist groups in the world. They effectively bought the justice system and are now in Congress. The country cannot endure three more years of strengthening the FARC.

There is no discussion; the only way to confront them is the one that we already know, and that worked for us: frontal fight against terrorism. We must remove the guerrillas from Congress, end the JEP, and fight those who insist on keeping their weapons. It is also crucial to create a plan to welcome into society those who decide to defect.

We don’t have to invent anything. The former President Alvaro Uribe Velez has already done it once, but we have to act now. President Duque will not have the support of the judiciary or the media, but he has the help of the majority of Colombian society, that same society who continues to applaud Uribe for what he achieved in his day.

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