Extradited leader of the AUC paramilitary group Salvatore Mancuso said the 2006 reelection of former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe was financed by paramilitaries.
In an interview with Caracol Radio, Mancuso revealed that he worked with Uribe’s advisor, Jairo Andres Angarita, to give financial and logistical support to Uribe’s 2006 reelection campaign.
The infiltration of paramilitary groups into Colombian politics has become popularly known as “parapolitics” scandal. Former president Alvaro Uribe and dozens of his former officials have been implicated before, but this is the first time that Mancuso, once the most powerful paramilitary leaders in the country, directly implicated the former president.
“In the reelection of President Uribe, I gave input to commander Andres and hired buses so they could promote propaganda and move people for Uribe’s campaign,” said Mancuso from his U.S. jail cell.
Despite these accusations, Mancuso said he could not testify before a court because there are no guarantees of protection for his family and lawyers.
Mancuso refused to comment on accusations that Santiago Uribe, the brother of the former president, was involved in the parapolitics scandal, due to fears that the Uribe family would seek revenge.
“Good God! I do not want to talk about these issues. Our response is considered a vengeance response within the current judicial proceedings,” he said.
Mancuso also said that he had met with Uribe in person but declined to comment on the content of the meeting.
Uribe gave a pithy reply to the interview on his Twitter account: “The evil of Caracol’s Arismendi, associating with criminals, crashing against our virtue and good faith.”
The comment was met with angered responses from many of Uribe’s Twitter followers.