A former Colombian senator on Friday was charged with the promoting and financing of paramilitary groups, held responsible for tens of thousands of human rights violations.
According to the prosecution, there is enough evidence to prove that the U Party member and former ambassador to Peru, Jorge Visbal, met on several occasions with Carlos Castaño, the founder of paramilitary organization AUC.
The then-representative of cattle ranchers has been accused by several of the AUC’s top commanders of having supported the paramilitaries’ incursion in the north of Colombia.
Former AUC leader Salvatore Mancuso testified before Colombian prosecutors that Visbal had an “identical ideology” to the extreme-right paramilitaries and, on behalf of the cattle ranchers, brought “information and suggestions” to meetings with paramilitary leaders to secure the expansion of paramilitary power in the north of Colombia.
According to “Ernesto Baez,” one of the AUC’s political leaders, the former senator and ambassador regularly visited Castaño and stayed the night at the AUC founder’s camp.
When prosecutors officially opened the investigation of Visbal, he resigned as ambassador to Lima and returned to Colombia. The court allowed him to await trial at liberty.
The prominent cattle rancher and politician is one of over 11,000 politicians, public officials and businessmen accused of collaborating with the AUC.