Senator revives allegations Uribe had ties to Medellin Cartel

Álvaro Uribe Vélez (Photo: El Tiempo)

Colombia’s Senator Ivan Cepeda said on Tuesday he has evidence confirming old allegations former President Alvaro Uribe had links with the notorious Medellin drug cartel’s leader Pablo Escobar.

Cepeda told newspaper El Espectador that “there is evidence, testimonies, and documents that indicate a very strong relation between a young politician Alvaro Uribe and people like Clan Ochoa,” referring to the Ochoa family that founded the Medellin Cartel together with Escobar.

When talking to Colombia Reports, the leftist Senator refused to provide evidence corroborating his claim “for a very simple reason which is that this issue is part of the debate and I would move ahead of the debate, meaning I’d give the debate a false start.”

This is not the first time Uribe is accused of links with drug cartels. Uribe was listed in a classified 1991 document United States Department of Defense intelligence report released in 2004 by the National Security Archives, as having close ties with Pablo Escobar.

PROFILE: Alvaro Uribe

Uribe was number 82 on a once classified list of 106 names of people with ties to “narco-terrorists.” Uribe’s description in the document reads, “A Colombian politician and senator dedicated to collaboration with the Medellin Cartel at high government levels. […] Uribe has worked for the Medellin Cartel and is a close personal friend of Pablo Escobar Gaviria.”

According to local newspaper archives, Escobar lent Uribe his private helicopter when his father was killed and his brother injured in a firefight with guerrillas in 1983. A year later, the helicopter belonging to the Uribe family was allegedly found at a Medellin Cartel base in the south of the country.

Uribe briefly was appointed Mayor of Medellin in 1982 when Escobar’s power was on the rise, but was removed from office less than half a year after his inauguration. Both Uribe and Escobar have long been active members of the Liberal Party.

The topic would have no doubt been raised in a debate later this month on Uribe’s alleged ties with paramilitary groups in Colombia, but the debate got restricted by the Senate’s Ethics Commission, preventing Cepeda from addressing questions and even mentioning Alvaro Uribe.

MORE: Senator cannot use Uribe’s name in debate on politicians’ paramilitary ties

Cepeda reiterated his belief that the restriction on the September 18 debate is “absurd from all points of view.”


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