A Colombian congressman and human rights defender have released a new edition of their book supposedly exposing the links between former president Alvaro Uribe and paramilitary groups, reported Colombian newspaper El Espectador Tuesday.
The second edition of “The Gates of Uberrimo”, by Ivan Cepeda and Jorge Rojas, will add to the first publication’s damning testimony with more “relevant information” about the ex-leader’s political life and a letter from an assassinated journalist.
Congressman Cepeda questioned witnesses, victims and judicial officials to write the first edition of the book, which came out Uribe was still in office in 2008, selling 15,548 copies. It was claimed Uribe had helped found the Metro Bloc of the AUC paramilitary organization, which he then ordered to carry out massacres and assassinations during his 2002-2010 tenure. Other allegedly strong links between the ex-president, corrupt politicians and numerous paramilitary groups were also outlined.
“We examined the public life of over sixty political leaders and farmers being investigated for links with paramilitary groups who were personal friends and political associates of President Uribe,” said Cepeda.
According to the authors, the second edition of the book deepens the portrait of the ex-leader’s political life and includes “appendages with photos of Alvaro Uribe with parapoliticians and testimonies from ex-paramilitaries that claimed to have links with him.”
Other additions include a letter by the murdered journalist Luis Eduardo Gomez addressed to Cepeda, in which he indicated that he feared for his life. Gomez was a key witness in several parapolitics trials and was assassinated in 2011.
The book, along with Cepeda’s other publications implicating Uribe in the parapolitics scandal, has been heavily criticized by Uribe.
According to the former president, the congressman had “the intention of obstructing justice by making false allegations.” In November 2011, the ex-president filed libel charges against Cepeda in response to accusations that the former head of state and his brother formed a paramilitary group and allowed it to use Uribe family property as a base.
Dozens of Colombian politicians have been convicted for their ties to the now-demobilized AUC. The infiltration of the drug-trafficking organization into Uribe’s coalition has popularly become known as “parapolitics.”