Posted by: Paula Delgado-Kling | April 14, 2011

The military prison/resort

The military jail in Tolemaida, where 269 military men sentenced for murder, massacres, tortures and kidnapping are serving time, is more of a warm-climate resort than a high-security prison. Prisoners live in cabana-type huts with air conditioner, internet and satelite TV. They are assigned cellphones and own restaurants, drug stores, and taxi services, in and outside the “prison resort.” They party in nightclubs in nearby Melgar, and their families come visit for weeks at a time. And … entire families are gifted vacations in seaside San Andres and Cartagena.

The inmates told Semana magazine there are those in high ranks who are interested in keeping happy those whose hands were directly dirtied in Colombia’s dirty war; and the inmates speak about it in taunting tones, like a child who knows they are getting away with murder (in this case, they are. Literally. The chunk of the inmates in Tolemaida have been sentenced for “false positives,” for killing civilians and passing them off as terrorists.)

The inmates also continue to receive army pay, and some are even cashing pensions. Some have been ascended military rank while serving time.

In the last few weeks, reports of the Tolemaida prison/resort have generated tension between the interior minister and the army, and yet, it seems the tension broke out only because the privileges awarded to these criminals were made public. Come on! One can’t be interior minister and not have known about these abuses before.

Related:
The tiff between the interior minister and the justice minister

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Responses

  1. In 1974/5 I adopted my daughter from an orphanage in Popayan, Colombia. Her name, given by the hospital, was Elaina Agredo Mendez. When I found her she had moved from a 4 months stay in the hospital to the Orphanage for 8 months. I found her in January 1975. No one was really sure when she was born as she had been abandon at the hospital by a woman too old to have been her mother. When I adopted her, I changed her name to, Shandra Ananda Lee, and we came back to the States to live. I always felt bad that I didn’t keep my promise to write about her once a year. For about 4 years I did. I sent pictures, and told of her accomplishments. Then I stopped. So this is to let you know that after all these years, Anya (that’s what she’s always been called) is 38 years old, married to Samlee Dulsaeng (from Thailand), mother to Samantha and Nicholas. Living in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she is such a beautiful spirit. The same spirit that I felt when I held her in my arms for the first time in Popayan.
    If you want more of the story email me. When Anya was growing up I wrote a series of journal entries called “to Anya’s Mother”
    ; ) elee


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