Colombia’s increasingly authoritarian president Ivan Duque is facing his fifth criminal charge, this time for allegedly trying to pin a 1995 assassination on one of his predecessors.
Duque and his political patron, former President Alvaro Uribe, Prosecutor General Francisco Barbosa and former mafia attorney Diego Cadena have all been charged by former intelligence chief Ramiro Bejerano.
Real conspiracy charges
According to Bejerano, Duque’s patron and allies were conspiring to fabricate criminal charges against former President Ernesto Samper, Bejerano’s former boss, for the 1995 assassination of former presidential candidate Alvaro Gomez.
The Supreme Court found that the former president and the mafia lawyer in 2008 were seeking benefits for extradited drug traffickers who could support a conspiracy theory claiming Samper (Liberal Party) was behind the assassination of late his conservative rival.
At the same time, Cadena was seeking allegedly false testimonies to defend Uribe and his brother Santiago, who are being investigated for allegedly co-founding far-right death squads in the 1990’s.
Uribe and Cadena were caught, however, and are currently facing fraud and bribery charges.
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Duque learns guerrillas kill people
Colombia’s war crimes tribunal started an investigation last week after demobilized FARC guerrillas claimed responsibility for the brutal killing of the legendary Conservative Party politician.
Duque surprisingly rejected the former guerrillas’ admitted war crime on Wednesday, claiming that “we shouldn’t rule out other hypotheses.”
The president went as far as claiming that falsely taking responsibility for a crime would also be criminal, implying the burden of proof of crimes the FARC confess to lies with the demobilized guerrillas.
When Duque swore in Barbosa as Prosecutor General, in February, the president explicitly asked his high-school friend to solve the murder.
The prosecution, however, appeared to not even have considered the demobilized leftist guerrilla group as a suspect in the murder of the right-wing icon.
Instead, prosecution sources told news website La Nueva Prensa that Barbosa was hoping to announce progress in criminal investigations against Samper on November 2, exactly 25 years after Gomez’s violent death.
“They should be looking up everything I said about Alvaro Gomez”
The president seemed unable to fathom the FARC would admit to exactly the crime his political patron was using to divert attention away from his apparent criminal activity.
Uribe seemed unable to fathom that not journalists, but colluding with the mafia to obstruct justice does harm, especially when you’re the suspect in a criminal investigation.
AU: Let me tell you something, you must avoid those journalists, they do us enormous harm. They are after a scandal, let’s not give them one, we’ll lose our effectiveness.
DC: President, I have always handled a low profile, but this was leaked by that journalist.
AU: Tell them to ask Jaime Lombana, that Jaime sent that letter to the Court, tell them to ask Jaime.
DC: Okay, so I will cut ties with the lady. What I don’t want, president, is that this is a free vocation I don’t have.
AU: They’ll immediately come with: “Uribe, through the mafia, seeks to dismantle testimony against him,” that’s what they’ll come out with.
CD: Of course, president, and it’s not worse if I stay quiet?
AU: Tell her. In fact, they should be looking up everything I said at the prosecution about Alvaro Gomez.