A Colombian prosecutor called on the country’s vice president, Francisco Santos, to testify about allegations by a paramilitary boss that he collaborated with the now-demobilized paramilitary organization AUC.
Santos was invited to voluntarily respond to accusations by former paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso that Santos had known of the planning of a paramilitary group in the Colombian capital of Bogota.
The Prosecutor’s General’s Office is currently investigating these accusations.
According to Mancuso, he had met with Santos on several occasions between 1996 and 1998 when, according to the former AUC chief, Santos proposed the forming of an AUC-led Capital Bloc that could control Bogota.
The meetings were held in an AUC camp, a house in the city of Valledupar and inside the office of El Tiempo newspaper, where Santos at that time was editor-in-chief, said Mancuso.
The paramilitary leader claims paramilitary leaders Freddy Rendon, alias “El Aleman,” and Rodrigo Tuvar, alias “Jorge 40”, were present at one of the meetings. Jorge 40 was recently reported to have suspended his cooperation with the Colombian authorities following the murder of his brother.
Santos and former employees of El Tiempo claim the meetings took place for journalistic purposes. Because of this, the Supreme Court suspended an investigation against the current vice president.
Colombia’s Supreme Court and the country’s Prosecutor General’s Office opened investigations against dozens of government officials and lawmakers with alleged ties to the AUC, guilty of tens of thousands of human rights violations including many cases of murder and rape.