Who is the Paramilitary Group That Denounced a Venezuelan Far-Right Destabilization Plan?

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Recently, Autodefensa Conquistadores de la Sierra (ACSN) a Colombian paramilitary group made public that the Venezuelan far-right contacted them to to enter Venezuelan territory and create destabilization in the country, and even get to assassinate President Nicolás Maduro.

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A report published by teleSURtv illuminates a little about who this irregular armed group is.

Formerly known as “Los Pachencas”, the group operates in the mountainous massif of Santa Marta, on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. Founded by Jesús María Aguirre, alias “Chucho Mercancía”, the ACSN controlled the cocaine routes from Barranquilla to Riohacha. Aguirre’s death in 2019 triggered a war for drug control, highlighting the volatility of these criminal structures.

The report details that the strategic location of the region has facilitated transnational criminal operations, such as “Operation Gideon”, an assassination attempt against President Nicolás Maduro that involved mercenaries trained in Colombia by US special forces.

In Colombia, a paramilitary group denounces that it was contacted by sectors of the Venezuelan extreme right to generate violence in the country. Here is the story.#venezuela #colombia #paramilitary #acs #paraco #rightwing pic.twitter.com/Xe9NNi5VAC

— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) July 6, 2024

The Jesuit priest Javier Giraldo tells in the report that although these groups like the ACSN claim political objectives of social change, what is really observed is a desire to maintain an economy based on drug trafficking. The wars in the peripheries, argues Giraldo, do not seek to improve the living conditions of local communities, but to maintain and dispute drug trafficking routes.

“In this context, the recent public denunciation of the ACSN, distancing itself from the destabilizing plans in Venezuela, can be interpreted as an attempt to gain legitimacy against the Colombian government,” the television material says.

He also points out that by declaring that they will not lend themselves to interfere in Colombian foreign policy, the ACSN seem to seek a space at the negotiating table of the “Total Peace,” carried out by the Colombian President Gustavo Petro.

Are they legitimate political actors or just criminal organizations looking for a legal escape? That’s the big question on the table.

For now Autodefensas Conquistadoras de la Sierra urged president Gustavo Petro for guarantees for direct dialogue with President Nicolás Maduro’s government to detail how and by whom they were specifically contacted.

Instead Venezuelan Public Ministry appointed on Friday night the National Prosecutor’s Office number 83, to ”investigate and sanction new threats of assassination against the Head of State Nicolás Maduro.”

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