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No Evidence, Paid Informers

Colombian Rebel Awaits Verdict

by staff |
February 11, 2007
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Washington DC - With no evidence and only the testimony of U.S. government paid informants, Colombian revolutionary “Sonia” awaits a jury’s verdict here in Federal Court. Sonia, whose full name is Anayibe Rojas Valderrama, is a peasant rebel who joined the fight for a free, just and independent Colombia. A nurse with the 30,000 member Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Sonia was extradited to the U.S. in violation of Colombia’s sovereignty.

Like political prisoner and FARC leader Ricardo Palmera, whose U.S. trial ended in a hung jury, Sonia’s trial is designed by the Bush administration to criminalize the FARC. Tom Burke of the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera states, “In Sonia’s case, the big lie is that the FARC are narco-traffickers. Photographic or physical evidence linking the FARC to drug running is impossible to find because it does not exist. It is as phony as Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.”

In Sonia’s trial, the jury only heard testimony from the U.S. government’s paid informants and the defense called no witnesses or Sonia herself to testify. The first witness, who the prosecutor called and then described as being involved in kidnapping, drug trafficking, theft and writing bad checks, had no credibility whatsoever. “Rocio Alvarez” is paid $15,000 per month by the U.S. government to testify against Sonia. As described by Washington D.C. lawyer and trial observer Paul Wolf, “Everyone knew she was lying - the judge, the jury, the news media. Above all, the lawyers who put Rocio Alvarez on the witness stand.”

Wolf goes on to describe another witness: “The second witness, Mauricio Moreno, was a retired officer of the Colombian National Police who could not remember why he lost his job. Shortly thereafter, he found employment as the bodyguard of Gordo Andres, an alleged drug trafficker, and then as an informant against the FARC. Moreno testified as to his boss’s alleged drug transactions with Sonia and to a bizarre plan to sell cocaine to paramilitaries, then steal it back from them and then export it to the United States.”

The U.S. government, not shy about stereotyping Colombians, gives the third witness the false name “Juan Valdez.” Attorney Wolf reports on “Juan Valdez’s” allegations: “He captained the riverboat used by Sonia on a bi-weekly basis, over a two year period, up and down the Caguan river, buying hundreds of tons of cocaine and returning hundreds of millions of dollars to the impoverished economy. Although the Colombian military controlled the river during that time, Valdez and Sonia supposedly ruled the river in their own way, making hundreds of enormous drug deals in a regular pattern, and, apparently, providing a large percentage of the cocaine reaching North American shores. Valdez buried the valuable gringo dollars in various places in the jungle, marking trees with an X and drawing treasure maps.” It is a fantastic story.

Wolf also reports, “Then there was Pedro Lopez, a reinserted guerrilla from the 14th front who also claimed that Sonia was financial officer there. And finally, “Lechuga” - their man in Panama City, Panama, who may just have spotted Sonia in the Seven Seas restaurant. Lechuga was allegedly an old time narcotrafficker, going back 20 years to the Noriega days.”

The U.S. prosecutor’s approach is to throw as much mud as possible and hope some sticks. Sonia, who took notes and paid close attention during the proceedings, must hope for one or more jurors who understand the poverty and oppression caused by U.S. domination and war in her country. A verdict in Sonia’s trial is likely this week.