Rebel leader admits 1990 assassination
Carlos Castano -- political chief of the United Self-Defense Forces of
AUC -- said the killing of leftist guerrilla commander turned presidential candidate
Carlos Pizarro was a "true patriotic act."
"If history repeated itself and the circumstances were the same, I would
act the same way," said
Castano, in a book excerpt published Sunday in the Colombian newsmagazine Semana.
The book -- "My Confession," by Black Sheep
Editorial -- is the product of weeks of interviews journalist Mauricio Aranguren had
with Castano, reported Semana.
Castano said he trained the assassin who on April 26, 1990, boarded a crowded
jetliner and shot and killed the 38-year-old candidate some ten minutes after the
plane departed Bogota, the capital.
The gunman was killed when one of Pizarro's bodyguards returned fire.
Pizarro, the son of a navy admiral, became commander of the 900-strong
guerrilla group in 1986. Under his command, the group disarmed four-years later
and joined the political process.
Castano, a fugitive, said Pizarro was collaborating with drug lord Pablo
and would have been a danger to Colombia if elected president.
Escobar, leader of the violent Medellin cocaine cartel, was killed by authorities
1993 following a massive manhunt.
Castano, who has eluded arrest for years, also admitted to ordering the
two popular lawmakers. The attorney general's office last year accused Castano of
killing Pizarro, but he was formally not charged with the murder.
The AUC is waging a brutal war against leftist guerrillas and those suspected
working with them. The 37-year civil war kills an estimated 3,500 people every
Meanwhile Sunday, the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or
freed a Catholic priest in Huila province after holding him for 16 months.
Doctors were treating Guillermo Correa for an unspecified illness that
the priest has
been suffering from since the rebels kidnapped him, a church official said.
Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.