Colombian opposition Senator Piedad Cordoba said
Saturday that an investigation into her alleged ties with the
guerrillas is a politically motivated “farce.”
“I’m absolutely convinced that it’s a farce. What I see is a very
clear strategy to discredit me, but I’m not going into exile and I’m
not going to hide. I’m going to face up to” any allegations that are
made, Cordoba said.
The Inspector General’s Office – a public institution charged
with overseeing the public conduct of those in authority – has
opened a disciplinary investigation into Cordoba and two other
opposition lawmakers, Gloria Ines Ramirez and Wilson Borja, for
their supposed links to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia,
or FARC, guerrilla organization.
Prosecutors say they found evidence of those possible ties on
computers belonging to a top rebel commander, Raul Reyes, who was
killed last year in a Colombian army raid on his clandestine camp in
I don’t believe in the computers,” said the legislator, who
added that she has no idea how prosecutors could have proof of
supposed e-mails between her and Reyes, saying that no such
correspondence took place.
“That’s the result of a plot to put the people against me,” she
Cordoba commented on the investigation upon arriving from the
United States, where she had traveled to meet with Colombian former
paramilitary chiefs jailed in that country.
“I hope it’s an objective (investigation) with all the
guarantees,” she said, adding that she hopes she hasn’t been
targeted for not supporting the nomination of Inspector General
Alejandro Ordoñez, or because her political positions “in search of
reconciliation and peace annoy some sectors.”
She added that in her meeting in the United States with the
erstwhile leaders of the ostensibly demobilized AUC militias
federation, including Salvatore Mancuso, they confirmed that
paramilitary squads continue to operate in Colombia even though more
than 31,000 militiamen turned in their weapons at mid-decade as part
of a peace process with President Alvaro Uribe’s government.
“I gained a good understanding of how they operate based on what
they told me and that’s what we have to combat to end the conflict
rather than just demonizing all of us who think differently in the
country,” she said.
The IG’s office on Friday announced its decision to open an
investigation into the three lawmakers and asked the Attorney
General’s Office to hand over evidence in its possession, including
“the document … that contains the information collected in the
operation in which … Raul Reyes was killed.”
Ordoñez also said last week that his office would open a
“preliminary investigation” into congressman Jorge Robledo and
Bogota councilman Jaime Caycedo, both with the leftist PDA party,
for presumed links to the FARC.
Cordoba, who was kidnapped a decade ago by rightist
paramilitaries in Medellin, Colombia’s second city, is a
controversial figure in her homeland.
Middle- and upper-class Colombians despise her for her harsh
criticism of popular, hard-line President Alvaro Uribe and for
joining leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez last year in
calling for the FARC to be removed from a list of terrorist groups.
The FARC, which once held dozens of politicians for political
leverage in its decades-old armed struggle, has handed over several
of its “high-value” hostages to delegations led by Cordoba.
But Uribe recently barred the senator from acting as mediator in
the release of a soldier held by the guerrillas for more than a
decade, saying he didn’t want any political “show” made over the
captive’s release. (EFE)