A former senator admitted in front of Colombia’s Supreme Court of meeting with guerrilla and paramilitary groups, but claimed it was with government approval.
Ex-parliamentary Vicente Blel defended the former-President of Congress Javier Caceres during his trial for alleged ties with paramilitary groups.
Blel admitted to meeting with leftist guerrilla ELN and AUC leaders in 2000, along with Caceres. However, the former senator claimed that this was done with full approval from the government of then-President Andres Pastrana.
“We went on government order and we talked to Francisco Galan, Felipe Torres, and Francisco Caraballo [ELN leaders]. From this conversation arose the need to talk to their opposition, that is AUC. So we talked with the government and arranged the meeting, but always with public approval.” said Blel.
The Supreme Court sentenced Blel to seven years in prison in 2010 for his ties with paramilitary leader Rodrigo Tubar, alias “Jorge 40.”