Son of slain Colombian politician wins $191 million lawsuit against rebel groups, drug cartel

(Photo by Carlos Villalon/Getty Images.)

(Photo by Carlos Villalon/Getty Images.)  (2002 Getty Images)

The son of a former Colombian senator won a $191 million lawsuit against three rebel groups he claims plotted to kill his father so they could illegally seize his property.

Antonio Caballero sued the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the National Liberation Army and the Norte del Valle Cartel after he was forced to abandon his businesses and property and flee to safety in Florida following his father's death. According to the lawsuit, the FARC demanded a $6 million ransom before shooting Carlos Caballero, 76, multiple times in 1999. Before his death, he was shuffled from jungle to jungle and denied food and water.

The Miami-Dade Circuit Court ruling allows Caballero to seize assets of numerous organizations, including those of Venezuelan government officials and Mexican cartels, according to the Miami Herald. The paper said the lawsuit could freeze the assets of hundreds of individuals and organizations with alleged ties to the three groups.

“This puts all our pain, the drama, the barbarity into context,” Caballero told the Herald. “We were alone fighting against the world trying to save a loved one … I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.”

Caballero now lives in South Florida and was granted political asylum.

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His father was the former president of Colombian Liberal Party and a vocal critic of the FARC and drug traffickers. Carlos Caballero was with his wife at his country farm when he was abducted, but the assailants did not take her.

His son’s lawsuit claimed damages under state racketeering laws and wrongful death under Colombian law.

Includes reporting by the Associated Press.

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