The Black Eagles
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2012)|
|Participant in Colombian Armed Conflict|
|Active||2006 - Present|
|Leaders||Victor Gonzalez Sierra|
Black Eagles (Spanish: Águilas Negras) is a term describing a series of Colombian right wing, counter-revolutionary, paramilitary organizations made up of new and preexisting paramilitary forces, who emerged from the failures of the demobilization process between 2004 and 2006, which aimed to disarm the United Self-Defense Units of Colombia (AUC). These were first considered to be a third generation of paramilitary groups but there are Colombian military reports suggesting the Águilas Negras are intermediaries in the drug business between the guerrilla and drug cartels outside Colombia.
On October 18, 2006 President Álvaro Uribe openly ordered their detention. The government also ordered the creation of a new Search Bloc against the Black Eagles and classified this organization as a gang of former paramilitaries.
The Black Eagles are closely associated with drug cartels and are involved in drug trafficking activities, extortions, racketeering and kidnappings. They have also attacked guerrilla members and suspected sympathizers. One individual who has been accused of leading the Black Eagles is former AUC leader Vicente Castaño,
According to Revista Semana, the new criminal organizations may have up to 4,000 members distributed into 22 identified groups in 200 municipalities and 22 of the 32 departments. The number of groups could also be 34, due to their capacity to hide and be black.
The upper ranks of the Aguilas Negras are made up of demobilized paramilitaries – either those who voluntarily opted out of the government peace process or those who were forcibly recruited. The lower levels of the group appear to consist of recruits dedicated to drug trafficking. The Aguilas Negras have built upon the criminal networks established by various paramilitary blocs throughout Colombia, but without adapting the same military, hierarchical structure. For now, it does not appear that the various factions of the Aguilas Negras respond to one another, or operate as a criminal federation. They are not known to control any transnational routes for the shipment of cocaine.
The group usually announces its presence in a given area by distributing pamphlets. Usually, these will announce the imposition of an evening curfew, declare their rivalry with another local gang, or threaten the community with “social cleansing” (that is, threats against drug addicts, prostitutes, or “guerrilla sympathizers” like union organizers or intellectuals). This is the same type of rhetoric once utilized by the AUC in order to impose social control within a given area.
- Águilas Negras de Catatumbo: operating in Cúcuta, Chinácota, El Tarra, Tibú, El Zulia and Puerto Santander in Norte de Santander Department, with influence over the towns of Ocaña and Aguachica this last town located in the Cesar Department. (Between 15 and 360 members)
- Banda Santander: operating in Riohacha and Maicao, La Guajira Department (Approx. 30 members).
- Los Rastrojos: operating in Cauca Department and Valle del Cauca. (Approx. 1200 members).
- Nueva Generación: Operating in Nariño Department. (Approx. 300 members)
- Mano Negra: Operating in the Putumayo Department. (Unknown number of members)
- (Spanish) Revista Cambio: Farc y las Águilas Negras se alían en negocios de narcotráfico en el sur de Bolívar
- Caleb Harris (3/12/2007). "Paramilitaries re-emerge in pockets of Colombia". Associated Press. USA Today. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
- "¿Qué son las Águilas Negras?" (in Spanish). Semana.com. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
- (Spanish) Las Águilas negras, group formed by demobilized members of the United Self-Defense Forces are present in five regions El Tiempo.com Accessed 20 August 2007.[dead link]
- Captured nine presumed members of the Águilas Negras Colombian Army Accessed 20 August 2007.
- Michael Deibert. "Amid Elections, Armed Groups Hold Colombian Town under the Gun". Inter Press Service. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
- (Spanish) Vicente Castaño would be behind 'Águilas Negras' El Pais Accessed 20 August 2007.
- 27 alleged members of 'Los Rastrojos' gang arrested Colombia Reports, 24 November 2010
- “New” paramilitaries, all over the map Plan Colombia and Beyond, 18 July 2007
- Colombia Reports: Aguilas Negras profile, 31 September 2012
- USA Today: Colombia's new armed groups - Crisis Group Latin America Report N°20, 10 May 2007