Chevron Petroleum, Colombia’s Green Heart Foundation Donate House To Widow & Child Of Fallen Police Officer
Chevron Petroleum (NASDAQ: CVX), in conjunction with Colombia’s Green Heart Foundation (Fundación Corazón Verde), local construction company Constructora Capitál and the U.S. Embassy donated this week a new home in the Medellín suburb of Sabaneta to the widow and child of fallen Colombian undercover police officer Luis “Lucho” Eduardo Sierra Guerrero.
Born in Manizales, Caldas, the young officer, who would have been just 34 years old at time of this article’s publication, served for 13 years as an undercover intelligence officer in Colombia’s national police force. Given a false identity, Sierra managed to get himself recruited by the FARC, where he served for 6 years under “deep cover,” incommunicado from his wife and family.
To infiltrate the FARC terrorist group, he first disguised himself as a homeless person and drug addict in the poverty-stricken port city of Buenaventura, on Colombia’s Pacific coast. He was soon recruited by a street gang that specialized in jewelry theft. From there he was able to meet individuals with ties to the FARC. He became the boyfriend of the cousin of a FARC militant, and from there began to be invited to FARC social gatherings, providing him with an opening.
According to Brigadier General Jesús Alejandro Barrera Peña, the National Police’s director of intelligence, Sierra’s efforts were key to dismantling the FARC’s “57th Front” active in Colombian western departments of Antioquia and Chocó. The FARC’s 57th Front was active in terrorism, extortion, kidnapping, village raids, and international drug trafficking, especially in the Darién Gap: border lands between Colombia and Panamá. “Lucho,” as Sierra was nicknamed, is credited for taking down an astounding 19 of the FARC’s leaders through his efforts.
Last summer, Sierra died after a fight with cancer. In 2016, a 19-centimeter tumor was discovered in his adrenal gland. Though he received treatment and surgery, the tumor metastasized to his lungs, liver, spine, and five other places in his body.
Sierra received 19 commendations and 14 medals during his service, and received the Fundación Corazón Verde’s “Colombia’s Best Police Officer” award. After his death, he was posthumously promoted from subintendente to intendente (roughly analogous to a master sergeant or warrant officer).
Chevron’s CEO for Colombia Marc Payne said he was touched by Sierra’s story when he first met the officer at the “Colombia’s Best Police” award ceremony 2 years ago. “Every year we support the ‘Best Police in Colombia’ awards. I first met Luis when he presented himself to our selection group,” said Payne. “He actually won the best police officer of the year, last year. It was a marvelous story. Unfortunately, before we were able to present him the prize at the annual celebration, he passed away because of his illness.”
“Our long term relationship with Corazon Verde for the last 12 years allows us to participate in many of these efforts. Every year almost 200 police officers die and through the contributions of Chevron and many other companies, we are able to give away several homes a year for the families of fallen police officers. We do several of these a year,” explained Payne.
“This is a foundation that was founded 20 years ago to help widows and orphans of fallen police officers. We provide housing for families, we educate their children, and we provide spiritual coaching and support to those families that have suffered violence in Colombia. We have been able to provide 20 billion pesos ($5.74 million USD) of support over the last 20 years. We generate our own resources through great alliances with companies like Chevron and housing companies. We put up half the money and our corporate allies put up the other half,” said Cristina Botero, the director of Fundación Corazón Verde.
“Lucho was in some of the most complex antiterrorism operations that we carried out,” Brigadier General Jesús Alejandro Barrera Peña told Finance Colombia. “He sacrificed anonymously so that Colombia could become a better country…We have a lot of heroes like him, working anonymously in the jungles, away from their families. He is one example of many.”