• Connect with us on Linkedin

Investigation into Uribe's 'Paramilitary Ties' Reopened

Former President Alvaro Uribe Former President Alvaro Uribe

Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is facing renewed investigations into his alleged criminal ties following fresh accusations over his involvement with paramilitary groups during his time as governor of Antioquia.

Linkedin
Google +

The decision to reopen the preliminary investigation into Uribe came after new testimonies from former paramilitaries were submitted to prosecutors by Congressman Ivan Cepeda.

The testimonies come from two former members of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), the umbrella organization of the illegal right-wing paramilitaries that demobilized during Uribe's presidency: Pablo Hernan Sierra, alias "Alberto Guerrero," and Juan Guillermo Monsalve.

Sierra accused Uribe and his brother Santiago of playing a key role in establishing the AUC’s Bloque Metro, which went on to terrorize the city of Medellin and parts of the Antioquia province, reported El Colombiano.

In the second testimony, Monsalve, who claimed to have worked on one of Uribe's properties, alleged that Uribe supported the AUC, and also ordered a massacre in the municipality of San Roque, according to Cepeda.

Uribe’s lawyer, Jaime Granados, was quick to denounce the decision to reopen the investigations, issuing a press release in which he dismissed the testimonies as “stories full of assumptions, inaccuracies and lies.”

Speaking to Bloomberg, Granados said the testimonies were not credible since they came from imprisoned former paramilitaries looking for reductions in their sentences who had been manipulated by Cepeda – a long time antagonist of Uribe whose father was assassinated in 1994, with the help of the AUC.

The accusations will now be assessed by prosecutors, who will forward the testimonies to a Congressional committee if they consider them viable.   

InSight Crime Analysis

Since leaving the presidency, Uribe has beaten back numerous attempts to link him to paramilitary groups, even as some of his closest allies have been convicted of collusion with paramilitary and criminal organizations, and abuses of power.

Uribe has consistently maintained that the accusations, which come principally from former paramilitaries, are motivated by a political agenda and a desire for vengeance by former AUC commanders who believe Uribe reneged on a promise not to extradite them to the US if they demobilized.

However, his ability to avoid prosecution has also undoubtedly been aided by his continued political influence and popularity, something which he may no longer be able to count on.

Over the last two years, Uribe has emerged as the de facto leader of the main political opposition to his former ally, current President Juan Manuel Santos, who he accuses of abandoning his hard line security policies. With the next presidential elections now just over a year away, Santos, who will go for a second term, would benefit greatly if one of his fiercest and most prominent critics were to be discredited, perhaps leaving Uribe more vulnerable than in the past.

Linkedin
Google +

---

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We also encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, provided that it is attributed to InSight Crime in the byline, with a link to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

InSight Crime Search

The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas

InSight Crime Social

facebooktwittergooglelinkedin

Most Read

Violence Against Media Report Shows Continued Impunity in LatAm

Violence Against Media Report Shows Continued Impunity in LatAm

A newly released index ranking the countries where journalists' murders are most likely to go unpunished names three Latin American countries in the list of worst offenders, as regional moves to counter the problem have...

Read more

Drone Use in Latin America: Dangers and Opportunities

Drone Use in Latin America: Dangers and Opportunities

Drones are gaining popularity in Latin American surveillance due to their technological advantages, but their use currently lacks a legal framework. While people commonly associate drones with extrajudicial killings, in this region unregulated use raises...

Read more

Mexico Councilmen Describe Life of Fear Under Knights Templar

Mexico Councilmen Describe Life of Fear Under Knights Templar

Councilmen from Michoacan have recounted life under a mayor who was in cahoots with Mexico's Knights Templar criminal organization, exemplifying how corruption and criminal control of local politicians works in practice.

Read more