Colombia

Vicente Castaño

Vicente Castaño, a.k.a. “El Profe,” is a presumably dead founding member of now-defunct paramilitary organization AUC and the founder of paramilitary groups AGC, a.k.a. Los Urabeños, and the “Aguilas Negras.”

Castaño was born into a farmer’s family in 1957 in Amalfi, a rural village in northeastern Antioquia where “Don Mario,” Miguel Arroyava and “Monoleche” also grew up. All would later become prominent paramilitary commanders and drug traffickers.

After Marxist FARC guerrillas kidnapped and murdered their father in 1981, Castaño’s brother Fidel and Carlos began forming anti-guerrilla self-defense armies with the permission of their associate, slain drug lord Pablo Escobar and local ranchers.

From his self-built prison, Escobar betrayed the Castaño brothers and several other cartel members and associates in 1991, spurring Fidel and Carlos to team up with childhood friend “Don Mario” and Medellin narco “Don Berna” to form “Los Pepes,” a paramilitary group that ultimately helped kill Escobar in 1993.

While Berna took over the drug lord’s enforcer army, “Oficina de Envigado,” the Castaños inherited a number of cartel drug trafficking routes, fueling their war against the FARC, which also had inherited parts of the slain drug lord’s empire and using the revenue to enhance their military might.

According to “El Profe,” he joined his brother Carlos’ to form the ACCU paramilitary group in 1994 after Fidel was killed in combat with FARC guerrillas.

Fidel united his slain brother’s several paramilitary groups and recruited Salvatore Mancuso and “Rodrigo,” a.k.a. “Doble Cero,” and the group began a bloody counterinsurgency offensive in Antioquia and Cordoba.

In spite of its brutal violence, the Castaños’ war against the FARC was openly supported by the local rural elite, many of whom had been terrorized by the guerrillas…

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