Former U.S. ambassador to Bogotá Myles Frechette was not satisfied with
Álvaro Uribe’s response to his questions about his alleged drug links,
when the diplomat asked about these when the current President was
Governor of Antioquia, Frechette told Miami newspaper El Nuevo Herald.
According to the diplomat — who worked in Bogotá from 1994 until 1997 — he asked Uribe in 1996 about the alleged links to the Medellín cartel after a 1991 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report said the Governor was “a close, personal friend” of Pablo Escobar, at that time leader of the powerful cartel.
When confronting Uribe with the content of the report, the Governor denied. “He told me that it wasn’t like that, but very calm. He has this way with these glasses he has to look one in the eyes and say ‘no’.”
Frechette told the newspaper he also expressed the U.S. government’s concern about Uribe’s earlier appointment of Cesar Villegas at Colombia’s civil aeronautics agency when Uribe was director of that body. Villegas granted licenses to a large part of Colombia’s drug traffickers’s airfleet. The former director of football club Santa Fé renounced in 1986 and was killed by hitmen in 2002.
According to Frechette, Uribe then told him Villegas was the only Colombian civil aviation expert in that time.
“Everyone knew what Villegas was doing and so did he,” the former diplomat told the newspaper, adding that he was not satisfied with the answer.
The answers about Escobar and Villegas and to questions about Uribe’s leading role in the forming of Convivir militias in the Antioquia department were disappointing enough for the former ambassador to report to Washington about his concerns about Uribe.
In a response, presidential spokesman Cesar Mauricio Velásquez said that Uribe had left the aviation authority four
years before the assignment of Villegas and stressed that “on several
occasions the Head of State and the Colombian Government have rejected
whatever link between the President and drug trafficking or