Colombia’s Prosecutor General has ordered the arrest of the country’s Ambassador to Peru due to his alleged paramilitary links, Colombian media reported Wednesday.
Jorge Visbal Martelo is accused of having close ties with the head of the AUC‘s Northern Bloc while he was president of the Colombian Federation of Cattle-Ranchers between 1998 and 2004, and seeking paramilitary support during the 2006 elections.
The former congressman is said to be listed on a seized computer that belonged to the extradited paramilitary leader Rodrigo Tovar Pupo, alias “Jorge 40,” in documents that have led the Colombia’s Supreme Court to conclude the two men had a close working relationship.
Ex-AUC commander Salvatore Mancuso and other paramilitaries have also implicated Visbal, the former senator and ambassador to Canada under the government of Alvaro Uribe, in the “parapolitics” scandal. They allege he was one of the “principal cattle-ranchers who paid the paramilitaries in Sucre,” reported newspaper El Tiempo.
Responding to the allegations, Visbal said that his contact with the paramilitaries was limited to his work with an agricultural entrepreneurs group which contacted the paramilitaries on several occasions to propose a “humanization” of the war and seek a possible peace process.
The prosecuting body ruled that Martelo be remanded in custody as a precautionary measure.