One of the paramilitary AUC’s most prominent ex-commanders accused Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe of collaborating with armed militias.
Ever Veloza, alias “H.H.,” told U.S. prosecutors that Uribe developed ties with the paramilitary group AUC during his tenure as governor of the Antioquia department from 1995-1997. According to H.H., Carlos Castaño, one of the founders of the AUC, used pagers to keep in contact with officials in the Antioquian government. Uribe used one of these pagers to secretly communicate with Castaño, said the extradited commander.
Bandidos extraditados,con quienes jamás me reuní,ahora dicen que hablaba por biper a través 4 Brigada, aparato que no utilicé.A enfrentarlos
— Álvaro Uribe Vélez (@AlvaroUribeVel) July 11, 2012
Uribe dismissed the charges via his Twitter account on Tuesday. He wrote, “Extradited bandits, with whom I have never met, say that I spoke by pager, a device that I did not use.”
Additionally, the former president called on the Prosecutor General’s Office to investigate H.H.’s accusations.
H.H. is the second top AUC commander to accuse Uribe of having collaborated with the paramilitaries when he was governor; The former supreme leader of the organization, Salvatore Mancuso, said in December that Castaño worked together with Uribe’s then-personal secretary in the process of forming the Convivir, legal urban militias that became part of the AUC after becoming illegal.
H.H. is the former commander of the AUC’s Calima Bloc and was extradited to the U.S. in 2009. He pleaded guilty to 13 murders and to burning several homes in the 2005 San Jose de Apartado peace community massacre. Since his arrest, Veloza has made similar accusations against other political figures in Colombia, such as ex-senator Juan Carlos Martinez.
Uribe is one of hundreds of politicians implicated in what’s called “parapolitics.”
Since 2006, 38 congressmen and five governors have been convicted for conspiring with paramilitary groups to get elected into office, reap financial rewards and intimidate opponents. Some 140 more former congressmen have pending investigations against them. Although many of these “parapoliticians” were allies of the Uribe administration, the former president himself has so far escaped indictment. According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, more than 11,000 politicians, public officials, members of the military and businessmen collaborated with the organization that was determined a terrorist organization until its official demobilization between 2003 and 2006.