Colombian army officer sentenced for role in Trujillo Massacre
After almost 20 years, a former Colombian army officer has been sentenced to 44 years in prison for his role in the deaths of over 245 civilians in the Trujillo Massacres in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Alirio Antonio Urena was sentenced for killings carried out against various residents of the town of Trujillo.
Nico Udu-gama, a SOA Watch Organizer, explained that the Trujillo Massacre was a series of massacres that were carried out over a number of years. The incidents became synonymous with the use of a chainsaw to butcher the victims before their bodies were thrown into the Cauca River.
Urena was originally trained in the United States through the Social of America program.
“It’s an institution located at Fort Benning in Georgia that has trained many dictators and human rights abusers in Latin America over many decades now,” said Udu-gama.
He explained the School of Americas now operates under a new name; The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.
“They still train soldiers from Latin America in counter insurgency techniques,” said Udu-gama.
The SOA has become known mainly for its connections to a number of Latin American coups in the 1980s and 1990s. However, many who go through the training today have been involved in more recent coups, including coup events in Honduras and Ecuador.
“The United States would prefer to say that they’re promoting democracy in Latin America, but through a lot of what we see through the SOA and military training institutions like it, the US is promoting only anti-democratic behavior,” added Udu-gama.
He argued that the SOA is the muscle behind America’s real agenda in Latin America, which is to secure and extract resources.