Violeta's story: from denying her connection to the guerrilla to participating in peace talks with the government in Caracas

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Since she appeared as a suspect in the terrorist attack at the Andino shopping center, sociologist Violeta Arango Ramírez assured that she was innocent; now, after being released from prison, where she was accused of terrorism, she is in Caracas participating as a peace manager at the negotiating tableVenezuela

Violeta's story: from denying her ties to the guerrillas to participating in peace talks with the government in Caracas

Violeta Arango Ramírez, five months between the most recent public appearance in Carcas and the day of her capture in June 2022

A few weeks after the attack in the center Andino commercial that left three people dead and a dozen injured, Violeta Arango Ramírez he fled from the authorities. She was found almost five years later in the camp of alias Pirry, leader of the ELN in southern Bolívar, in an operation in which he was killed and she was captured by the Army. She still insists on her innocence.

The authorities did not know who he was, although he agreed to belong to the organization. According to Noticias Caracol, the uniformed officers sent photographs of the woman so that intelligence agents could confirm her identity. It turned out to be Violeta Arango Ramírez, who by then her name already appeared preceded by “alias”. He had shaved off his hair and no longer resembled the images in his Interpol memo issued against him.

Violeta's story: from denying her involvement with the guerrilla to participating in the peace talks with the Government in Caracas

Hearing for the legalization of the capture and indictment of charges against Violeta

She was no longer 24 years old when she jumped to the media accused of being the key piece of the attack in the Andean Center on June 17, 2017. A week later, the authorities searched his house with an arrest warrant against him, but according to what he said in a letter broadcast by Contagio Radio, he had left and did not find out about the accusations until the next day.

He assured that it was a setup against him, a judicial persecution of which he was a victim for thinking differently, with the intention of diverting attention from corruption cases. “The investigation of the brutal attack at the C.C. Andino, which is based on rigged inferences, on inaccurate data and taken from context, on information from google (sic.) and fabricated by the “researchers””, he wrote in the letter.

In the letter, she said that she had been forced into exile, compared herself to Gabriel García Márquez, and said that she decided to leave her land with the conviction that “this country deserves better.” She ended her letter, in which she pleaded not guilty, with the phrase: “Without fear, resisting this unfair persecution, with all the hope and love in the world. From nowhere, Violeta Arango, July 13, 2017″.

Violeta's story: from denying her ties to the guerrillas to participating in peace talks with the government in Caracas

Capture of alias Violeta in the south of Bolívar

Her mother also came out in her defense with an emotional letter that she dedicated to her and was published by the newspaper El Espectador on July 31 of that year. “My daughter, you are a lover of life, a person like that, who grew up in the midst of love, could not be what they want to falsely show the whole country,” the document said, adding: “You are a woman brave, firm, you are a warrior, but not one of those who wield weapons, but one of those courageous spirits, who despite inequality, is still capable of believing in life”.

The academic Miguel Ángel Villegas, persecuted by judicial authorities and who was acquitted of the crimes against him, pointed out in a text entitled The vortex of the Colombian conflict that the circular against Violeta was absurd, like all the accusations against former students of the National University who were accused of participating in the attack on the Andean Center.

The Prosecutor's Office maintains that the so-called “exile” was the ELN guerrilla's search for protection. From messages and documents from electronic devices seized from that guerrilla in the south of Bolívar, they determined that alias El Viejo, former leader of the organization, requested that the Darío Ramírez Castro War Front protect her. This is how he would have acquired the alias Tatiana.

After Samuelito's death in July 2018 in an Army operation in the municipality of San Pablo, Arango Ramírez would have passed under the protection of Wilfredo Vasquez Castrillon, aka Pirry. On June 3, in an operation against her in Morales, he was discharged and she was captured.

Violeta's story: from denying her ties to the guerrillas to participating in peace talks with the government in Caracas

Alias ​​Violeta at the installation of the talks table between the government and the ELN. She is next to the representatives of Norway and Cuba

Violeta is a sociologist from the National University of Colombia and, according to the Prosecutor's Office, she belonged to the People's Revolutionary Movement since at least 2015, because she is accused of participating in at least 10 actions classified as terrorists in the capital and in Pereira.

On June 13, 2017, according to the prosecution, Arango went to an internet cafe in the Country Sur neighborhood, in Bogotá; He “requested a computer, downloaded the plans of the Andino from the internet and printed them”. These documents would have established the site where they were going to install the bomb, the women's bathroom, which detonated at night, leaving three dead and 10 injured.

The Prosecutor's Office indicated that it has evidence of Violeta's links with other of those captured. But the process has had slow progress and several setbacks. Part of those captured were released a year after the attack because the prosecution body failed to bring them to trial. He recaptured them, but in 2020 another group went free. They assured that there was no evidence against her.

The only one remaining on the run is alias Violeta, who after her capture was charged with aggravated homicide, attempted aggravated homicide, terrorism, concert for aggravated crime and rebellion, but he did not accept any. Initially, the ELN, which was already in talks with the government of Juan Manuel Santos, indicated that it repudiated the act and had no ties. For the authorities, Violeta's background establishes that relationship between the guerrilla, the attack and the MRP.

Arango Ramírez has now been released and the warrants suspended against her, after being accredited as peace manager, at the request of the guerrilla group, to participate in the talks between the government and the ELN. She was seen at the table installation in Caracas, Venezuela. However, she must remain linked to the investigation into her alleged responsibility for the attack.