Colombia’s Supreme Court on Wednesday issued an arrest warrant for a senator with alleged ties to the AUC, a now-defunct paramilitary organization.
Senator Piedad Zuccardi of the coalition U Party was summoned to appear before the Supreme Court to refute allegations made by the former head of the AUC, Salvatore Manusco, that she requested his assistance in her pursuit of a congressional seat.
Manusco also alleged that Zuccardi contacted two former commanders of the “Bloque Heroes Montes de Maria” wing of the AUC, Edwar Cobos Tellez (alias “Diego Vecino”) and ‘Ernesto Baez’, to ensure Alfonso Lopez Cossio’s campaign for the governorship of the northern department of Bolivar was successful.
Another former paramilitary commander, Manuel Antonio Castellanos, alias “El Chino”, also alleged that Zuccardi and her husband, Juan Garcia Romero, met with Tellez in 2002 on a finca outside of Cartagena, to form an alliance
Romero’s brother, former senator Alvaro Garcia, was sentenced in 2010 to serve 40 years in prison for ties to paramilitary organizations.
Zuccardi is currently in Costa Rica, a country which does not have an extradition treaty in place with Colombia.
This is far from the first time that Manusco has made allegations against high ranking political figures. Indeed, in October of 2012 he alleged that he met former President Alvaro Uribe in 2002.
The AUC operated from 1997 until 2006, and within this period formed a symbiotic relationship with many figures in the Colombian government and security forces. The relationship became public in 2006 and became known as the “parapolitics” scandal, which resulted in the conviction of numerous lawmakers and public officials.
FACT SHEET: Parapolitics scandal