Colombia’s far-right President Ivan Duque’s denied fearing the truth about the country’s armed conflict on Tuesday amid mounting evidence he does, and for a very good reason.
The president fiercely responded to former paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso, who said Duque “fears the truth and is impeding the reconstruction” of what happened during the armed conflict.
If we want peace, reconciliation and non-repetition, it is essential that Colombia knows what has happened in more than 30 years of war. The State and its governments are responsible for the origin, consolidation and repetition of the armed conflict.
Former AUC commander Salvatore Mancuso
Bandits and war criminals
According to the president, the former commander of the AUC is a “bandit’ and a “war criminal,” which has been proven in court.
What Duque is trying to prevent is that Mancuso and other former AUC leaders testify before war crimes tribunal JEP and prove that the president and his political allies are war criminals and “scum,” as former AUC commander Ramon Isaza called the cousin of former President Alvaro Uribe, a former Medellin Cartel associate and the president’s political patron.
Uribe’s cousin Mario is one of more than 60 former congressmen who were sent to prison for their ties to the AUC after the paramilitaries’ demobilization in 2006.
We are not afraid of the truth. But let them not try to play under the table to try to link themselves to the JEP, so that they enjoy no kind of prison sentence and the benefit of non-extradition.
President Ivan Duque
“Politicians are politicians, they’re scum”
Uribe is being investigated for three massacres and a homicide, election fraud and the tampering of witnesses who survived to claimed the former president and his brother Santiago formed a death squad exactly like Mancuso and Isaza.
Multiple members of Duque’s cabinet and far-right party could end up in prison for their alleged ties to the AUC and drug traffickers if the AUC leaders testify.
Furthermore, the president has been charged with crimes against humanity, is being investigated for election fraud and ties to a drug trafficking organization, and is submerged in corruption scandals.
Duque’s attempts to hide the truth
Since taking office, Duque appointed a far-right ideologue who has denied the existence of the armed conflict as the director of the National Center of Historical Memory.
The president’s also appointed one of his best friends, Prosecutor General Francisco Barbosa, to take charge of the criminal investigations that could imprison Duque’s allies.
And last but not least, the president tried to cur the budget of the transitional justice system, which includes a Truth Commission, while trying to limit the powers of the JEP.
Duque may claim he is not afraid of the truth, but he also lied about his fictitious Harvard degree and should be very afraid as the truth as evidence indicated it could land the president, his mafia associates and his political allies in prison.