Colombia’s Defense Minister Gabriel Silva said Tuesday that allegations by former police Major Juan Carlos Meneses that Uribe’s brother, Santiago Uribe, led a paramilitary death squad in the early 1990s, are part of Venezuela’s plan to discredit the Colombian head of state.
“What this amounts to is an assault on President Uribe and his brother… All these accusations against the president have come from Venezuela,” Silva said.
“I believe that Venezuela has proactively undertaken intelligence operations and operations to discredit President Uribe, former DAS officials and many others … using all kinds of trickery” Silva said.
The defense minster claims that there is “sufficient and resounding” evidence of such operations, which have been going on “for some months.”
Silva’s comments follow allegations earlier Tuesday by police commissioner Oscar Naranjo that Colombian drug trafficking capos “Los Comba” offered a retired police colonel over $250,000 to implicate Santiago Uribe in dealings with Antioquian paramilitaries.
Colombia has a history of rocky relations with Venezuela and diplomatic relations between the two nations are currently frozen. Most recently Colombia has accused Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez of trying to interfere in the Colombian electoral process.
A little more than two months remain before Uribe on August 7 hands over his post as Colombian president to the winner of the nation’s upcoming presidential elections.