The ex-head of Colombia’s national police explained there are “marked differences between him and former President Alvaro Uribe’s after the latter claimed to be “sad” his former police chief has joined the political reelection campaign of his political rival, President Juan Manuel Santos.
General Oscar Naranjo, head of Colombia’s National Police for 15 years — 8 of which were under Uribe, said in an interview with Caracol Radio that while he feels “enormous gratitude and respect” for his old boss, his new role in the peace negotiations between the government and Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC, “has very publicly made evident that there is a marked differences between him and me.”
Naranjo, who was a key figure in enforcing Uribe’s policy of “democratic security”, in which the government led an aggressive war where the state sought to retake important strategic and urban territories held by the FARC, clarified that his belief that such a policy cannot be viewed “as an end in itself but instead should be an instrument to achieve peace.”
President Juan Manuel Santos on Friday announced that the General would enter into the “Fundacion Buen Gobierno,” a governance foundation which has in the past served as Santos’ political base, along with other influential politicians who, speculation suggests, will make up the electoral team for the head of state’s expected run for reelection in 2014.
Naranjo’s potential role within Santos’s reelection plans remains to be defined, and the general refused to be drawn on reports that he will run as Santos’ vice presidential candidate, stating on Friday: “as the president said, that is a decision that will be taken later on, conform to the timetable set out by the law” referring to the legislative restrictions that prevent President Santos from officially announcing his candidacy until six months before the elections.
In a response on Uribe’s Twitter, the former head of state said to be “sad” his former ally had become his rival because “he shared our policies and contributed to their execution for eight years.”
Decisión del General Naranjo me causa tristeza porque compartió nuestras políticas y contribuyó a ejecutarlas durante 8 años
— Álvaro Uribe Vélez (@AlvaroUribeVel) May 17, 2013
Naranjo confirmed that he will be entering into the political fray, clarifying his “commitment to the reconsidering of public politics” and declaring his “formal entrance into politics.”