Former Senator and Ambassador Jorge Visbal was released by Colombia’s prosecutor general Wednesday after being arrested for alleged paramilitary ties.
The diplomat was released from detention because he does not pose a security threat, but investigations into his actions as president of the Colombian Federation of Cattle Ranchers (Fedegan) between 1998 and 2004 will continue.
Jailed AUC leader Salvatore Mancuso alleged the former ambassador to Peru maintained close ties with the paramilitary group’s Northern Bloc and sought paramilitary support during his 2006 run for Congress, which he lost. He was appointed as a senator in 2007 however, following the death of Luis Guillermo Velez Trujillo.
Mancuso claimed Visbal, who also served as the ambassador to Canada, met with the AUC ten to 15 times during his tenure as head of Fedegan, despite Visbal’s claims that his dealings with the group was limited to work with an agricultural entrepreneurs group that contacted the paramilitaries on several occasions to propose a “humanization” of Colombia’s longstanding armed conflict and sought a possible peace process.
Visbal surrendered to Colombian authorities in March after his resignation as ambassador to Peru.