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Rubio Calls On DOJ to Reject Extradition of Salvatore Mancuso

Aug 23, 2023 | Comunicados de Prensa

On July 23, 2023, Colombian President Gustavo Petro, appointed paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso as “peace manager” to negotiate with one of the country’s largest drug cartels. Mancuso, an infamous narco trafficker and human rights violator, is a convicted U.S. and Colombian felon. In Colombia, Mancuso was found guilty in more than 1,500 cases of murder or forced disappearances. In the United States, Mancuso was convicted, and is currently in prison, for drug trafficking. Mancuso also faces charges in Italy. It is expected that Petro will seek the extradition of Mancuso. Allowing him to walk free would be an insult to his victims. 

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding he reject any request from the Colombian government for Mancuso’s extradition.

  • “Both right-wing paramilitary groups and left-wing terrorist organizations have been responsible for thousands of human rights abuses in Colombia for several decades. There has been consistent bipartisan support in the United States and Colombia for investigating those responsible in order to support peace and reconciliation in Colombia. Recent events in Colombia, however, may undermine this search for accountability and justice for these abuses.”
  • “I, therefore, urge you to reject any request from the Colombian government for the extradition of Mancuso, until his appointment as a “peace manager” is revoked, or there is credible assurance that Mancuso will serve the sentences imposed by Colombian courts.”

El full text of the letter

Dear Attorney General Garland: 

I write with concern over the ongoing effort to ensure accountability and justice for human rights abuses in Colombia. As you know, both right-wing paramilitary groups and left-wing terrorist organizations have been responsible for thousands of human rights abuses in Colombia for several decades. There has been consistent bipartisan support in the United States and Colombia for investigating those responsible in order to support peace and reconciliation in Colombia. Recent events in Colombia, however, may undermine this search for accountability and justice for these abuses. 

Last month, Colombian President Gustavo Petro announced the appointment of several Colombians to be “peace managers” to handle negotiations with armed groups as part of his “Total Peace” plan. Among these is Salvatore Mancuso, the former commander of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), who will allegedly handle negotiations with Clan de Golfo, the country’s largest drug cartel and which emerged from one of the remnants of the demobilized AUC. Mancuso’s appointment as a “peace manager” is problematic, not least because he has been convicted by U.S. federal courts for drug trafficking and by Colombian courts for more than 1,500 cases of murder or forced disappearances. While he is currently incarcerated in the United States, he has yet to serve out any sentences for his Colombian convictions. 

I, therefore, urge you to reject any request from the Colombian government for the extradition of Mancuso, until his appointment as a “peace manager” is revoked, or there is credible assurance that Mancuso will serve the sentences imposed by Colombian courts. To allow Mancuso to not only walk free in Colombia, but also represent the Colombian government in negotiations with drug traffickers currently working to flood our communities with narcotics, would be an insult to the thousands of Colombians who are victims of Mancuso’s crimes.

I thank you in advance for your attention to this matter. 

Atentamente,