Colombia’s prison authorities faced more questions after a woman was found in the jail cell of an ex-paramilitary leader in the high security wing of a Bogota prison.
The woman, who was not identified in the El Tiempo newspaper article recounting the incident, entered the best guarded part of La Picota, to visit Dumar de Jesus Guerrero, alias “Carecuchillo.”
Guerrero escaped from La Picota in February this year but was recaptured in May. The escape cost the director of the National Prison Institute (INPEC) his job and caused many to question the ability of INPEC to control its prison population, many of which include powerful and well-connected criminals such as Guerrero.
Guerrero is jailed for his involvement with Colombia’s right-wing paramilitary groups known as the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), and could be charged for a 1997 massacre in the small village of Mapiripan in which dozens of civilians were executed for their alleged connection to leftist rebels in the zone.
Carecuchillo is also the brother of the Popular Revolutionary Antiterrorist Army of Colombia (ERPAC) leader Pedro Oliverio Guerrero, alias “Cuchillo.” The ERPAC are now one of the three biggest drug trafficking groups in the country, with presence in at least five departments on Colombia’s eastern plains.
The government announced that INPEC will undergo a “profound reform” during the first six months of 2011, amid systematic overcrowding and frequent cases of corruption. Police Gustavo Adolfo Ricaurte Tapia was appointed the new INPEC director in November and will oversee the changes.