Official of the former DAS now leads investigation against her former bosses

Archive image of the DAS façade.  A former DAS official now leads an investigation against her former bosses.  (Colpress)
Archive image of the DAS façade. A former DAS official now leads an investigation against her former bosses. (Colpress)

The case of the journalist Claudia Juliet Duke has a new chapter in Colombian justice. The communicator reported that Blanca Cuesta Vanegasa former official of the former Security Administrative Department (YOU GIVE), today she is the leader of the human rights thematic axis of a group of the Technical Investigation Corps (CTI) of the Prosecutor’s Office that investigates those who were her colleagues and bosses in the old institution.

The DAS is remembered for its strategy of persecution and illegal surveillance against lawyers, journalists, trade unionists and politicians. In fact, on July 6, the Council of State issued a ruling in which it condemned the nation for the psychological torture, threats, exile, illegal interceptions and persecution it experienced Claudia Juliet Duke by the state entity between 2001 and 2010.

The court considered that the violations of which the communicator was a victim were serious, due to her active investigation into the murder of renowned reporter and humorist Jaime Garzón. The Council of State determined that these were not isolated events, but that they corresponded to a “chain” of criminal acts committed over the years “without any type of effective control by the defendant institution.”

In context: They condemn the nation for persecution, threats and exile against the journalist Claudia Julieta Duque

After learning that Blanca Cuesta Vanegas is carrying out the investigation against her colleagues, Duque submitted a recusal against the former DAS official so that she be withdrawn from the investigation carried out by the CTI.

That document was known by the newspaper The viewer: “It is surprising that Cuesta Vanegas today leads the group of investigators of the thematic axis of human rights within the CTI of the Prosecutor’s Office, since her character as an analyst and active participant in the so-called “intelligence cycle” of the DAS should lead the Prosecutor’s Office to relieve her of such important post.”

According to Duke, There is evidence that shows that “the defendants have been his colleagues, supervisors and hierarchical superiors.” For this reason, as a former DAS official, “she is interested in this process and this process has been interested in her,” he added.

The truth is that Cuesta Vanegas worked in the DAS since 1995 and although he is now investigating who his colleagues and superiors were, the problem does not only lie with that. “Cuesta Vanegas carried out intelligence work against at least one person who was the victim of illegal surveillance by the DAS,” The journalist detailed in the recusal, although an investigation against the former official has never been carried out.

“By 2004, Cuesta Vanegas went on to form one of the strategic intelligence groups that were created within the DAS —explained Duque in the recusal— coinciding with the period of greatest persecution by that organization against opposition civil society in Colombia”. At that time they were victims of illegal tracking trade unionists, congressmen, journalists and members of non-governmental organizations. “I was one of the victims of these illegal activities, and this is already proven in the file,” he remembered.

The document known by The viewer specifies that Cuesta Vanegas was part of the DAS political analysis group. “His supervisors were the defendant in this process, Enrique Ariza Rivas – convicted of conspiracy to commit a crime and illegal violation of communications – and the former coordinator of intelligence group 3, Jaime Fernando Ovalle, who testified in the case in December 2009, weeks before his death”, clarified Duke.

Taking this into account, Claudia Julieta Duque argued that the former DAS official should have declared herself incapacitated since February 2022, when she assumed leadership of the investigation. “I ask you to declare Cuesta Vanegas incompatible and/or prevented from knowing any type of diligence or judicial police work within this action,” the journalist pointed out in the document.


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