In his testimony before the Supreme Court, Colonel Julio Cesar Prieto accused ex-congressman Alfonso Riaño of links to paramilitaries, reports El Espectador.
Recounting what now-demobilized groups allegedly told him, Prieto said of Riaño’s culpability, “All he lacked was a gun.”
Riaño resigned from office in 2007 and was arrested in November 2008 for his alleged links to the Central Bolivar Bloc of the AUC, a section of the paramilitary coalition that was demobilized in mid 2006.
Prieto spent two years serving in the San Vicente de Chuchuri area in the department of Santander and observed that no one could succeed politically without the support of the paramilitaries. “Not one leaf moved without authorization from the AUC,” he said.
Although he did not witness Riaño’s association with the AUC directly, Prieto stated he came to know of it through third parties and later had proof of the link.
Prieto added that the former governor for Santander, Hugo Aguilar, tried to have him removed from serving in the area by holding a meeting with then-President Alvaro Uribe.
The colonel said Aguilar was concerned because of Prieto’s efforts to combat paramilitary structures and sources of financing.
Hugo Aguilar was barred from holding public office for 20 years earlier this year after the inspector general ruled the politician had ties to paramilitary death squads.
Earlier on Friday, a local clergyman stated that Uribe only gained political success between 2002 and 2006 because he had the backing of paramilitary groups, though he didn’t believe the former president had direct links with the AUC.