INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: New Colmil Commander Makes Right Sounds in Change

Published: Tue 22 Aug 2006 02:08 PM
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TAGS: PHUM PGOV CO
SUBJECT: NEW COLMIL COMMANDER MAKES RIGHT SOUNDS IN CHANGE
OF COMMAND SPEECH
1. (U) On August 16, in front of the President, the Minister
of Defense, and the military high command, General Freddy
Padilla's speech on taking command as CHOD of the Armed
Forces General started his tenure off right. He stressed the
importance of respecting human rights and in achieving a
"clean victory." In another break with the past, he praised
the contribution of the police, noted the importance of the
counter-drug fight, and called for inter-service cooperation.
As an army officer coming from the service most dismissive
of the police, as a military man from an institution that
continues to argue that the counter-terror fight is more
important than the counter-drug fight, and as an occasional
casualty of the "jointness wars" of the last few years, this
is all good news and must have surprised some of his
listeners. He also put the military solidly behind
confiscation of illicit properties and their return to the
people, as well as the fight against money laundering.
Padilla himself is seen to have a wider view than many of his
colleagues, and to be more astute politically. We will be
watching for follow-up.
2. (U) On human rights:
"We will perhaps be the first military in the history of the
world to win a war while fundamentally respecting
international humanitarian law, which we will apply under the
illustrious purview of our Constitution and laws. We will
not dishonor our combat with a savage act, nor will we treat
those we conquer with cruelty or cowardice. Results give us
legitimacy in the eyes of the people for whom we fight, and
justice gives us legitimacy in the eyes of the world and
posterity. This is one thousand times better than a
momentary lapse that endures for eternity....Now, more than
ever, a clean and convincing victory is the first, most
urgent, and most sacred of our duties."
3. (U) On the joint fight against drugs with the police and
money laundering:
"As we pursue the war against narco-terrorist aggression, the
destruction of the drug trade is a necessary condition for
victory. Narcotics trafficking will no longer be considered
just a problem of public order. Instead, we will insert into
our military doctrine the importance of mutual service with
the National Police, who make an invaluable cooperation and
whom we will never be able to sufficiently praise."
"Defeating the finances of the armed bandits, and blocking
their access to precursor chemicals, gasoline, and cement
with which they process coca leaves and poppies must be an
urgent task of unquestioned importance. The eradication of
illicit crops within this unquestionable logic also relates
to our own fundamental responsibilities."
4. (U) On the peace process and reparations:
"A war has never been won by losing popular support. The
overwhelming approval the people give to our conduct must not
make us vain or corrupt our path. Under instruction from
civilian authority, we will contribute to the construction of
peace. The land that the bandits have scorched will be
returned to its legitimate owners, the Colombian people.
Each military unit is obligated to denounce the
"pseudo-properties" of the defeated criminals. Our proximity
to the grand scene of events makes us fundamental actors in
the discovery of assets of dubious origins and in the full
guarantee of the new, clean, and creative uses that judges
deem fit for them."
WOOD
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