The Secret History of Israel’s Role in Genocide in Colombia

As a diplomatic row erupts between the former allies, Dan Cohen republishes his 2021 MintPress News exposé on the role of Israeli agents in training death squads and devising plans for genocide in Colombia.

Gustavo Petro at North-South Schism session at World Economic Forum in January 2024. (WEP/Flickr)

By Dan Cohen
Uncaptured Media

On Oct. 16 last year, Colombia demanded that Israel’s ambassador Gali Dagan depart the country. “At the very least, apologize and leave,” foreign minister Álvaro Leyva said.

This came one day after Israel halted weapons exports to Colombia.

“If we have to suspend foreign relations with Israel we will suspend them. We don’t support genocides,” Colombian President Gustavo Petro tweeted.

The diplomatic row erupted in response to Petro’s scathing criticism of Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Gaza Strip, in which he compared Israeli military to Nazis.

This prompted Israel’s foreign ministry to summon Colombia’s ambassador Margarita Manjarez, where she was dressed down.

“’At the meeting, it was made clear to the ambassador that her president’s statements were received in Israel with shock given Hamas’s barbaric terrorist attack, in which more than 1,300 Israelis were murdered and over 150 innocent civilians were kidnapped,” said Israel foreign ministry spokesperson Lior Hayat,'” The Times of Israel reported on Oct. 10.

Colombia and Israel have long shared close ties, Israel providing military equipment, training and more.  The late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez famously called Colombia “The Israel of Latin America” for its role as a U.S. proxy and platform for maintenance of control throughout the region.

Successive Colombian heads of state embraced the relationship. In 2013, then-president Juan Manuel Santos boasting that “If somebody called my country the Israel of Latin America, I would be very proud. I admire the Israelis, and I would consider that as a compliment.”

However, Israel played a key role in turning Colombia into a narco-state terrorized by paramilitary death squads that, in collaboration with the military, committed what a Colombian court ruled was a “political genocide” of a left wing party known as the Patriotic Union.

Petro directly referred to this bloody history in his tweets denouncing Israel.

“Neither the Yair Klein nor the Raifal Eithan will be able to say what the history of peace in Colombia is. They unleashed the massacre and genocide in Colombia,” he wrote. “Someday the army and government of Israel will ask us for forgiveness for what their men did in our land, unleashing the genocide. I will hug them and they will cry for the murder of Auschwitz and Gaza, and for the Colombian Auschwitz.”

[Yair Klein, a former lieutenant colonel in the Israeli army, established the private mercenary outfit Spearhead Ltd., which provided arms and training to South America militaries. Raifal Eithan was an Israeli general, former chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces and a member of the Knesset.]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Petro:

I investigated Israel, Klein and Eitan’s role in the decades-long Colombian bloodbath for MintPress News in 2021, republished here. 

By Dan Cohen
MintPress News

June 2, 2021

On April 6, 1984, a group of men dressed in police uniforms arrived at the home of Milcíades Contento in the town of Viotá, Colombia.

15 comments for “The Secret History of Israel’s Role in Genocide in Colombia

  1. michael888
    May 14, 2024 at 08:02

    As Max Blumenthal has noted, , the US has embraced the Israeli militarism, death squads and narco states in Latin America. To Joe Biden and other neocons, our neighbors to the South are our untermenschen. The vast caravans chased out of South and Central America, usually losers in the local drug wars who have the money to leave, head north eventually becoming cheap, exploitable illegal aliens to keep US labor costs low, and Labor submissive.

    The US is joined at the hip with Israel, neither country having qualms about killing others. As Tim Dillon recently said sarcastically, sometimes it’s necessary to shoot the baby in the face, a view shared by most Israelis and American “statesmen” such as Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden.

  2. Bostnonian
    May 13, 2024 at 17:38

    The captured regime tank that stands in Revolution Square in Managua is Israeli-made as well. Israel supported Somoza in Nicaragua, armed the apartheid regime in South Africa, trained SAVAK, the Shah’s murderous secret police, even as it offers training to US “warrior police” today. The “unshakeable alliance” of the US and Israel displays a common record of inhumanity.

  3. Diego Garcia
    May 13, 2024 at 14:51

    Sorry, but from the logo, apparently I’m not the first to use the name of the illegally occupied islands. Sorry, did not mean to confuse.

  4. Diego Garcia
    May 13, 2024 at 14:44

    I left GA a long time ago, but as far as I know it’s still there after the Clintons pulled the ‘name change will make it disapear’ trick.

    Yep, I found a local news story about yet another renaming to try to cover the stench.
    “WHINSEC on Fort Benning holds dedication, renaming ceremony”

    Nothing at all seems to say that anything except the name has changed. The story is all about the two people who died in the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and who now have a terror training school named after them.

    SOAWatch is the group that used to organize the protests.

  5. JonnyJames
    May 13, 2024 at 13:37

    Great article and topic. This is another way that Israel serves the US empire. As noted, Hugo Chavez recognized it years ago. Colombia was the Israel of South America. Sadly, Argentina, under Milei, is the new Israel of South America. But thankfully, Colombia is becoming more independent after many many years of meddling from El Imperio.

  6. John Z
    May 13, 2024 at 13:14

    Please don’t forget the training for despots and dictators provided by the U.S. at its School of the Americas at Ft. Bragg for many years. Does anyone know what and where it morphed to?

    • LarcoMarco
      May 13, 2024 at 14:28

      The School of the Americas (a/k/a School of the Assassins) was located at Fort Benning, GA not at Fort Fragg, NC. It was recast as The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation and Fort Confederate General Benning was renamed Fort Moore.

      • John Z
        May 13, 2024 at 17:20

        Thanks for the correction.

  7. May 13, 2024 at 08:25

    “Beginning in the early 1970s, Israel developed close relations with the successive military regimes in Bolivia, but the relationship reached its height under the regime of Luis Garcia Meza.


    Israel was one of only nine states that extended recognition to the military regime. The others were Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil, Taiwan, South Africa, the USSR, and Egypt. The list speaks for itself, being made up mostly of pariah states. Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil were then under military regimes. According to Israeli sources, the Garcia Meza group asked for Israeli support and got it immediately (Samet, 1981). While the Carter administration was applying economic sanctions against the regime, Israel offered not only diplomatic and moral support, but also economic and military aid, sometimes in partnership with South Africa (Maariv, 1980). The two offered aid as soon as the Garcia Meza regime took over (Hoge, 1980). The Argentine junta of Jorge Videla also offered its help. An educational-cooperation agreement between Israel and Bolivia was signed in July 1981. According to some sources, Israel was involved in training a short-lived anticommunist ‘people’s army’ (Hermann, 1986).”

    “Chapter Four: The Friendly Hemisphere,” in Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, “The Israeli Connection: Who Israel Arms and Why” (New York: Pantheon Books, 1987), p. 104-105, available at

    “Of course, Israel’s support for the likes of Hitler-admiring Roberto D’Aubuisson in El Salvador [Jessica Buxbaum, “Israel’s State Archives Reveal Long and Sordid History with Anti-Semitic Extremists in Europe,” MintPress News, Oct. 4, 2023, and Mary McGrory, “D’Aubuisson: Who, Me?,” The Washington Post, July 1, 1984] is hardly surprising when considered within the context of its larger involvement [see Wikipedia page on “Operation Tipped Kettle,” and “Israel’s Latin American Trail of Terror,” Al Jazeera, June 5, 2003] in Latin America’s ‘dirty wars’ (in Guatemala [Gabriel Schivone, “Israel’s Shadowy Role in Guatemala’s Dirty War,” Electronic Intifada, Jan. 20, 2017], Panama [Richard H. Curtiss, “What You Won’t Read About Michael Harari, Noriega’s Israeli Adviser Who Got Away,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (WRMEA), Feb. 26, 1990], Argentina [“Argentina: Military Support from Israel in 1982,” The Falkland Islands Association (FIAS)], Colombia [Kenneth Freed, “Tape Shows Israelis Training Cartels’ Killers,” Los Angeles Times, Aug. 30, 1989], and elsewhere).”

    For more information, see my original post as “sveltesvengali” on Disqus (

    • May 13, 2024 at 15:01

      “Unclassified minutes of a secret Israeli cabinet meeting held 51 years ago reveal that Israel planned a massive transfer of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to the tiny Latin American country of Paraguay.


      At the time the accord was ratified, Paraguayan tyrant Alfredo Stroessner was 15 years into what would become the longest dictatorship in Latin American history and was better known for sheltering top Nazi officers than for welcoming refugees. Notorious SS doctor Josef Mengele was among the Third Reich élite who fled to Paraguay after World War II. Stroessner’s interest in the Palestinian immigrants was likely connected to his nation’s urgent need for agricultural workers who could help pull his cash-strapped and resource-poor nation into subsistence.

      Details of the scheme confirm long-held Palestinian claims that Israel, from its inception, wanted only to rid itself of the native Arabs living on land under its rule.”

      Noga Targopolsky, “Unclassified Docs Show Israel’s Secret Plan to Ship 60K Palestinians to Latin America,” The Daily Beast, Aug. 13, 2020

      • Bindar Dunit
        May 14, 2024 at 03:23

        Do you happen to know if George W. Bush family still owns the 100000 river hugging acreage in Paraguay that one of his daughters purchased for the Bush clan in the early 2000s? it supposedly had the greatest proximity to vast amounts of fresh water anywhere in the world should drought increase due to climate changes in the region.

        • May 14, 2024 at 14:46

          I was actually not aware of that controversy before now (so I thank you for bringing it to my attention!). It certainly fits with phenomena that I am aware of like a glove, though, including everything from Bechtel’s role in the passage of Law 2029 that even banned rainwater collection and the resulting “Cochabamba Water War” (2000) in Bolivia (Sheraz Sadiq, “Timeline: Cochabama Water Revolt,” PBS Frontline, June 2002), to Nestlé’s comparable efforts to strategically gain control over water supplies around the world (for example, see Alexandra Shimo, “While Nestlé Extracts Millions of Litres From Their Land, Residents Have No Drinking Water,” The Guardian (UK), Oct. 4, 2018), to the Bush-tied Canadian oligarch Maurice Strong’s similar acquisition of the Baca Grande ranch lands of the Arizona-Colorado Land & Cattle Company formerly controlled by Adnan Khashoggi in a likely bid to co-opt the Closed Basin Project for his own insidious purposes (Ed Quillen, “A Water Baron Takes on the Establishment,” High Country News, Oct. 26, 1998, and James Corbett, “Meet Maurice Strong: Globalist, Oiligarch, ‘Environmentalist’,” The International Forecaster, Feb. 1, 2016).

          The most recent articles that I have found thus far concerning the late George H.W. Bush’s (and Sun Myung-Moon’s) ownership of Paraguayan land that seemingly provide significant control over the Guaraní Aquifer (which appears to have been a subject of intermittent international press attention since c. 2006) appear to date to around 2019-20, with a notable spike in attention around 2015 – for more details, see Wayne Madsen, “While Baghdad Burns, Bush Buys,” Oct. 23, 2006, and Eduardo Tamayo Belda, “The United States’ Interest in the Guaraní Aquifer in Paraguay,” Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics 18, no. 3 (2021): 94-109. This would also be just one more reason among many others why the “Charcas Heartland” (principally Bolivia, but also extending into Paraguay) has been posited to be a crucial nexus for geostrategic control in the Western Hemisphere by strategists ranging from Lewis Tambs (USA) to Ernesto “Che” Guevara (Cuba) to Golbery do Couto e Silva (Brazil) to Bo Hi Pak (South Korea), based on my own recent research, alongside that of previous scholars such as Leslie Hepple.

  8. Sam F
    May 13, 2024 at 07:05

    Perhaps the article needs an update: the Gomez assassination was about April 2021.
    Duque’s presidency of Colombia ended in late 2022 when Petro was inaugurated.
    Petro has severed ties with Israel. Does the “current slaughter” continue?

  9. Patrick Powers
    May 13, 2024 at 04:41

    What will them naughty boys be up to next?

    • Vera Gottlieb
      May 13, 2024 at 11:16

      Don’t you think that ‘naughty’ is rather an UNDERSTATEMENT???

Comments are closed.