Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Paramilitary Remorse?

'I repent,' (poetically) by Salvatore Mancuso.
Notorious paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso, who has confessed to ordering multiple massacres and hundreds of killings, says he's sorry.

 Mancuso made this poetic video in the United States federal prison where he's serving a 24-year sentence for narcotrafficking.

"I'd give my life for all of those whose lives ended at our hands," Mancuso declared. "But it would be impossible. Life calls for life."

Salvatore Mancuso on his way to U.S. prison. 
But Mancuso waxed even more poetic, talking of the "Remorse that navigates the atribulated waters of my memory," and the "palpitations that shake my soul with the echoes of laments and moans."

"My repentement isn't of today, or yesterday, but of many years back," he insisted. "A thousand times, pardon, a million times, pardon, for my whole life, for all of eternity, pardon."

Sure, it sounds nice. But back in 2007, when Mancuso and other paramilitaries demobilized expecting to receive slaps on the wrist from the Uribe government and to be able to live out their lives in luxury on their ill-gotten wealth, Mancuso claimed that the victims of his paramilitary death squads were all guerrillas - even tho his victims included teenagers and old people. (The Uribe government later accused the paramilitary leaders of continuing to plot crimes from prison, and extradited them. Human rights activists charged that Uribe's real motive was to cover up his government's links to their crimes.)

Body bags at the site of the 1997
Mapiripan Massacre, where
30 people were killed.
(Photo: Nacla.org)
In one 2007 hearing in Colombia, Mancuso described a series of massacres and justified them as 'anti-subversive operations,' according to The Guardian newspaper. A woman whose father was murdered by Mancuso's men told The Guardian that Mancuso "seemed proud of what they'd done, not remorseful."

Mancuso's remorse smacks more of seeking a pardon than cleansing his soul.

To give Mancuso some credit, he has testified by video for Colombian courts, which seem to be giving credence to his accounts. And in his testimony, Mancuso has said that the police, military and even members of the Uribe family collaborated with the guerrillas. Collaboration by state forces has been widely documented, and some police and military charged with helping Mancuso commit massacres. 

But watch Mancuso's video and you'll see a smooth, controlled delivery with no evidence of remorse. Mancuso looks to me like a psychopath: Cool, controlled, intelligent and manipulative, lacking empathy for his victims. 

Remorse and psycopaths don't mix.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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