Colombia’s government and ruling party have entered an apparent state of panic after the Supreme Court formalized fraud and bribery charges against former president Alvaro Uribe.
President Ivan Duque, who referred to his political patron as “honorable” while Uribe was in court, remained quiet on Wednesday, in an apparent attempt to avert an institutional crisis.
Uribe’s far-right Democratic Center (CD) party, however, stepped up its disinformation campaign in what appear to be increasingly chaotic and desperate efforts to rally public support for their leader.
From funny to intimidating
In some cases, this led to hilarious incidents; Uribe’s fixer, mafia lawyer Diego Cadena, told W Radio that he had called himself a “hamstattorney” in a leaked wiretap recording in which he called himself a “gangstattorney.”
Other cases were not funny at all; A journalist received death threats after CD Senators Carlos Mejia and Maria Rosario accused her of promoting anti-Uribe posters that claimed the former president is a murderer.
A co-founder of Uribe’s party, Emerson Grajales, spread a fake video in an attempt to discredit the victim of Uribe’s alleged criminal practices, opposition Senator Ivan Cepeda.
Colombia’s ambassador to Washington DC, Francisco Santos, posted a tweet in which he questioned the integrity of the court.
Comptroller General Felipe Cordoba claimed his Twitter account was “infiltrated” after he came under fire for liking Santos’ tweet before the ambassador was able to delete it.
While media remain quiet, internet goes wild
The reactions of the government and the ruling party triggered a wave of criticism and mockery on social media.
Vice-President Marta Lucia Ramirez was told that “if Uribe goes down, you will go down too” after she highlighted Uribe’s “commitment to the rule of law.”
Parody news website Actualidad Panamericana reported that “in the case of the incarceration of Uribe, President Duque will be transferred to Family Welfare,” the government agency in charge of orphaned children and juvenile delinquents.
With the exception of El Espectador, the country’s newspapers were surprisingly quiet about the historic chain of events. No president in the corruption-ridden history of Colombia has ever appeared before the Supreme Court to face criminal charges.