Colombia Formalizes Criminal Charges Against Uribe

One of the serious charges he faces is that he bribed former paramilitaries huge amounts of money to testify that Uribe was not involved in the death squad known as ‘Bloque Metro’.

Colombia’s Supreme Court announced that they are formally filing criminal charges against former right-wing President Alvaro Uribe for bribery and fraud. The court made the decision late Tuesday evening after Uribe had completed his first day in court.

RELATED: Colombia: Uribe Bribed Witness to Testify for Him

The court ruling represents an intensification of Uribes legal troubles, as they are no longer just an ‘investigation’.

The move is supported by more than 78 percent of Colombians according to a new poll, the results of which will be bad news for Uribe’s ally, President Ivan Duque, who has expressed his backing for the controversial ex-president. 

Among the charges he must answer to is that he paid for f,alse testimonies to “politically finish off” left-wing lawmaker Ivan Cepeda, who had been exposing his links to paramilitarizm. Congress threw out the case against Cepeda and pursued an inquiry into Uribe instead.

Another one of the serious charges he faces is that he bribed former paramilitaries huge amounts to testify that Uribe was not involved in the death squad known as ‘Bloque Metro’.

Uribe is one of Colombia’s most divisive figures and a close ally of George W Bush. He has come to represent the far-right paramilitarism of Colombia’s long civil war, whose end with the 2016 peace accords he opposed. This was reflected during the trial as his supporters and counter protests faced off outside the courthouse.

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Colombia’s Uribe appears at Supreme Court on multiple charges

Bogota, October 9 (RHC)-- Colombia’s former right-wing President Alvaro Uribe made an appearance before Colombia’s Supreme court on Tuesday, facing 14 charges, including human rights abuses, fraud and tampering with a witness.

The court will have 10 days to determine whether or not to press on with the investigation.

Investigations into Uribe’s connection to the right-wing death squad Bloque Metro took an unexpected turn against him when it emerged that he was bribing a former member for favourable testimony.

Colombian newspaper El Tiempo confirmed the validity of claims made by former paramilitary ‘Victor’ that Uribe’s lawyers had paid him over half a million dollars, along with other payments, for favorable testimony.

‘Victor’ is a former paramilitary with Bloque Metro, a right-wing death squad that Uribe is alleged to have helped create.  It is reported that Victor was supposed to testify that one Alberto Guerrero had never been part of the group.  This was needed because Guerrero is who first exposed Uribe’s role in the death squad.  In an exclusive interview with teleSUR in 2013, Guerrero outlined in detail Uribe’s links to his former group.

Also among the allegations against him is that he paid for false testimonies to “politically finish off” left-wing lawmaker Ivan Cepeda. Congress threw out the case against Cepeda and pursued an inquiry into Uribe instead.

Uribe is the poster-boy of right-wing paramilitarism in Colombia.  He cooperated closely with the U.S. under ‘Plan Colombia’ to intensify the country’s civil war.  Today, he opposes the 2016 peace accords signed by the state and the FARC.  He recently called on his ally President Ivan Duque to scrap the agreement.

Edited by Ed Newman
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Colombian politician Alvaro Uribe called a murderer at every campaign stop

Bogota, September 27 (RHC)-- The former far-right president of Colombia Alvaro Uribe has been touring the country for the upcoming regional elections, and being greeted in every locality by huge rallies at which he is called a ‘murderer’ and told ‘no more Uribe’.  The most recent one was in Antioquia, formerly one of Uribe’s bastions.  

Former President Uribe is currently on trial for charges that include involvement in a right-wing death squad called Bloque Metro.  Trial is ongoing, and in response, protesters have been attacking him as he tours the country in support of right-wing candidates at the upcoming regional elections.  In Marinilla, Uribe replied to protesters, shouting that they are echoing what Hugo Chavez used to say about him.  

The trial took an unfortunate turn for the former president in early September. The Colombian newspaper El Tiempo confirmed the validity of claims made by former paramilitary ‘Victor’ that Uribe’s lawyers had paid him over half a million dollars, along with other payments, for favorable testimony.  Victor is one of only two known surviving members of the paramilitary group that Uribe stands accused of having founded. 

Uribe is the figurehead of right-wing paramilitarism in Colombia.  He cooperated closely with the U.S. under ‘Plan Colombia’ to intensify the country’s civil war.  Today, he opposes the 2016 peace accords signed by the state and the FARC.  He recently called on his ally President Ivan Duque to scrap the agreement.

Edited by Ed Newman
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There was no “Miracle”: hard-line, right-winged tendency wins in Colombia

Ivan Duque —inexperienced politician with lack of communication, and protégé of former President Alvaro Uribe— has just won the presidential election in Colombia. The denounced fraud was not finally investigated. Several problems were reported; namely, irregularities in more than 800 polling tables, a million dollar buying of thousands cards and a paramilitary presence in 237 “risky” municipalities in the country.

If we add the “benevolence” of electoral authorities to these facts, the political apathy of 56% of all voters, and the citizens’ hate to everything smelling politics, then we can find the logic behind the wide margin with which Duque (53,95%) defeated left-wing representative Gustavo Petro (41,73%).

Ivan Duque faces now huge challenges. Let’s see how he handles everything: the pressure of being Alvaro Uribe’s protégé, the extreme right-winged forces of the Democratic Center Party, the peace agreement (he is now talking about reforms, not annulment), and the reform of justice so they can avoid the Constituent. It would meet the social urgencies to approve the implementation of land reform and eradicate corruption, which seems really tough given the sort of people surrounding Duque.

SOME THOUGHTS

Anyway, the left as well as progressive forces around them may join forces and create a bloc that protects the life of former members of FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army), social and peasant leaders, who are being systematically assassinated.

They should be careful with some forces joining the progressive bloc as there are suspicions about leaders who deter votes and then their stance coincides with that of the right’s programs.

Remember that after the first round of the general elections and being released the numbers where Colombia Humana —Petro’s political party—, and Coalicion Colombia (CC) earned a higher number of votes than the right led by Duque, the leader of the alternative movement CC, Sergio Fajardo, urged to vote blank instead of calling for the unity of all anti-corruption forces or defending social justice. This fact weakened significantly the democratic trend.

Several analysts warned Alianza Verde and Polo Democratico that this candidate had been encouraged by Alvaro Uribe (ideologist of the right-wing tendency) and would certainly claim compensation: to divide the democratic process.

It is important to point out that the left has its weakness. The right seems to be stronger as all those who criticized Alvaro Uribe joined forces and left behind their differences. Thus, the extreme right-wing led by Andres Pastrana, Cesar Gaviria, and Vargas Lleras, among others, worked together to endorse Ivan Duque’s candidacy.

The neoliberal society has all the legislative power in Colombia with 85 representatives out of 100. Its mayors represent more than 90%. They handle voting nationally and have all the means to pay voluntary officials, guarantee food, hand over propaganda, and provide transportation to voters. Summing up, there is a lot of money for the “dynamic” process.

There is no freedom of information in Colombia. All the media are owned by six families. All of them follow the same script of support to their representative. There has been propaganda on terror as they accused Gustavo Petro of being a guerrilla man. Petro was said to transform Colombia into a new Venezuela.

Nonetheless, the left had its own living candidate. And despite the upcoming storm, there is always hope to find similar conditions for all candidates in the future.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz/CubaSi Translation Staff

Pope Francis Meets President Santos and Uribe in the Vatican

Bogota, Dec 16 (Prensa Latina) Pope Francis met Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and former president Alvaro Uribe today, who have been distanced due to their disagreement over the peace process with the FARC-EP, according to Colombian news reports.

Although there have been no details of the meeting, the main Colombian newspapers and radio stations have published images of the moment.

In successive messages His Holiness called on Colombians to persevere in the search for peace and national reconciliation.

Uribe, who heads the right-wing Democratic Center Party (CD), is one of the most vocal critics of Santos' administration and an outspoken opponent of negotiations with the FARC-EP.

Along with other spokespersons of the CD, he led the campaign for the negative vote in the October referendum, when most voters rejected the first peace agreement between the government and the rebel group.

Negotiators returned to the table and finalized a conclusive treaty, which was signed on November 24th and ratified by the Congress of the Republic; the ex-president also opposes this agreement.

On Monday parliamentarians will discuss the draft amnesty law, considered key to the members of this insurgent group, the largest in the nation.

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