chapter  9
9 Pages

THE RETURN OF BLACK VLADIMIR

The paramilitaries’ effectiveness against the Communist Party could be measured by a statue. It was a bronze bust of paramilitary ideologue Pablo Guarín that stood ten feet high in a plaza in Puerto Boyacá. The bust was made after Guarín was shot under mysterious circumstances in 1987. The FARC said it killed Guarín, but some believe that Mafia boss José Gonzalo “El Mejicano” Rodríguez Gacha did it because Guarín opposed his drug business. For people in Puerto Boyacá, it didn’t matter. Under Guarín’s watchful eye and his omnipresent politico-military organization, ACDEGAM, the paramilitaries had “cleaned” the area of the Communists. The FARC’s new political party, the Unión Patriótica, was never even an option. “If at the end of the road you find my body don’t pick me up,” it reads beneath the bust. “Let the vultures from the FARC devour me. Pick up my ideas, my flags, and continue ahead.” Guarín said these words, and the people responded. At the entrance to the town, a sign read, “Welcome to Puerto Boyacá…the anti-subversive capital of Colombia.”