Mario Montoya Uribe (born April 29, 1949 in Buga, Valle del Cauca) is a Colombian military General and Commander of the Colombian National Army (Ejercito Nacional de Colombia). Montoya holds a graduate title in Top management from the Los Andes University (Colombia). He has trained in armored vehicles courses in Fort Knox, Kentucky and served as the Army, Navy and Air Attaché in the Colombian Embassy at the United Kingdom in London, England.
Colombian National Army career
During Montoya's military career he has commanded the following units of the Colombian National Army:
- Company Commander at the Military School of Cadets
- No. 5 Cavalry Group Commander (Cúcuta, N.S.)
- No. 4 Intelligence Battalion (Villavicencio, Meta)
- Cavalry School Director
- Operative Command No. 9 Commander (Bagre, Antioquia)
- 18th Brigade Commander, (Arauca).
- Commander of the Caribbean Joint Command
- Army Intelligence Director
- Joint Task Force of the South Commander
- Fourth Brigade Commander
- First Division Commander
The following honors have been bestowed upon Mario Montoya Uribe for his service:
- Order of the Libertadores "Cruz de Boyacá"
- Distinguished Services in Public Order for first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth time.
- Order to the Military Group Gral. José María Córdova, in the Officer and Commander category
- Order to the Military Merit Gral. Antonio Nariño, in the Officer and Commander categories
- Distinguished services from the Marine Corps
- Order to the Military Merit Admiral Padilla
- Order to the Aeronautical Military Merit Order to the Military Merit from the Lancer’s School
- United States of America Army Medal
- Order from the Chamber of Representatives
- Distinguished services to the National Police for first and second time
- Distinguished services to the Military School
- San Jorge Medal
- Distinguished services to the National Police in the category of Commander for second time
- Medal from the Non Commissioned Officer’s School
- Medal from the Military School of cadets
- Order from the Congress
- Service Badges for 15, 20,25 and 30 years
There have been several controversial accusations regarding different events during General Mario Montoya's military career.
BINCI and AAA
A declassified 1979 report from the United States
Embassy in Bogotá
details a plan for the foundation of the Anticommunist American Alliance
(Alianza Americana Anticomunista) (AAA) by General Jorge Robledo Pulido and the Colombian National Army's Battalion of Intelligence and Counterintelligence
(BINCI). The AAA and BINCI have been linked to a number of bombings
and guerrilla detainees between the years of 1978 and 1979.
Then-Lieutenant Montoya served in BINCI at the time and was mentioned in a November 29, 1980 article published by the Mexican newspaper El Día, containing allegations about BINCI's and AAA's activities as told by five individuals identified as former Colombian military. Lieutenant Montoya is mentioned as a participant in the bombing of the Communist newspaper Voz Proletaria. A 1992 human rights publication, El Terrorismo de Estado en Colombia (State Terrorism in Colombia), was based on the previous El Día article and repeated many of its claims..
In 1999 the U.S. Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) found no evidence to support the charges against Montoya, citing the previously known information as "a NGO smear campaign dating back 20 years."
In March 2007 a report by the United States Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA) was leaked to the Los Angeles Times
by an anonymous U.S. government employee who was said to be unsatisfied by the Bush administration's handling of the Colombian government's accountability. The report detailed a number of claims concerning links between Colombian security forces and illegal paramilitary groups. According to the CIA document, an allied Western intelligence agency reported the existence of such links during a 2002 Medellín
offensive carried out against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
(Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) (FARC) under the title of "Operation Orion". While the operation was considered a success, there were allegations that over 40 people had disappeared
during the operation and that the impending power vacuum was filled by paramilitary forces. The Western intelligence agency mentioned in the report considered that, the source of the claim was yet-unproven. A Defense attaché
to the United States Embassy in Bogotá told the Los Angeles Times that "this report confirms information provided by a proven source."
General Mario Montoya was commander of the area police force during the operation. The report cites an informant who claimed that plans for the attack were signed by General Montoya and paramilitary leader Fabio Jaramillo, who was a subordinate of Diego Fernando Murillo Bejarano, also known as Don Berna. Don Berna became known for taking over the drug trade around Medellín after drug kingpin Pablo Escobar was killed.
The CIA did not confirm nor deny the authenticity of the report. CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano stated that "by describing what it calls a leaked CIA report containing material from another intelligence service — and unconfirmed material at that — the Los Angeles Times makes it less likely that friendly countries will share information with the United States" and "that ultimately could affect our ability to protect Americans". Douglas Frantz, a managing editor of the Los Angeles Times, responded that "we listened carefully to the CIA concerns and agreed to withhold details that the agency said jeopardized certain sources and ongoing operations, but our judgment is that the significance of the issues raised in this story warrant its publication."
President of Colombia, Álvaro Uribe (no relation to Montoya Uribe), has denied any links between his government and paramilitary forces.