Former President of Congress accepted AUC money: Ex-paramilitary

An ex-paramilitary testified Tuesday that the former President of Congress accepted over $400,000 from demobilized paramilitary group the AUC for his political campaign in 2006, reports newscast CM&.

Jose Gelvez Albarracin, alias “El Canoso”, provided the testimony at the trial of ex-President of Congress Javier Caceres Leal, who is being tried on charges of parapolitics, or maintaining paramilitary links while in public office.

El Canoso provided explicit details of a meeting with the former senator in an office in north Bogota in 2006. He said, “He [Caceres Leal] knows that I looked him in the eye spoke to him. They asked me if I was the guarantor of this money, which was delivered to him in a suitcase, and he said that he had not counted it, as he trusted those who were giving it.”

The former paramilitary asked in his testimony that all politicians who collaborated with the AUC speak out, saying that former paramilitaries were being treated like liars for telling the truth.

He said, “Doctor Carceres would do better to demobilize so that he too can help in the process of finding out the whole truth, so that the country can know what happened here.”

Caceres Leal was an important figure in the congressional debates that led to the creation of the Justice and Peace Law in 2005, which intended to assist Colombia’s peace process by granting leniency to paramilitaries who agreed to demobilize.

 

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