Following her dismissal by the Inspector General’s Office for “collaborating” with the FARC, Colombian dissident Senator Piedad Cordoba said Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez lacks the moral authority to bar her from public office, as he is himself under criminal investigation.
The IG dismissed Cordoba earlier Monday for “exceeding her functions as well as the authorization she was given by the government to negotiate a humanitarian exchange” when she was negotiating the release of hostages held captive by the FARC several years ago. Ordoñez explained that the evidence was based on files allegedly found on computers of FARC commander “Raul Reyes,” the wiretapping of suspected guerrillas, and informants from within the FARC.
Cordoba, who has been a fierce critic of the government’s military approach to Colombia’s leftist rebels, questioned Ordoñez’s moral authority based on “his actions against women’s and gay rights” and on his acquittal of two ministers being investigated for allegedly bribing congressmen. Both ministers are under criminal investigation by the Supreme Court, and this court is now investigating Ordoñez for acquitting them.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a friend and ally of Cordoba, called her dismissal an “outrage” and said he was “absolutely sure” Cordoba is “absolutely innocent.” Chavez said that the contact he and Cordoba had with the FARC in the past had led to the release of several hostages.
Cordoba is a highly controversial public figure in Colombia and, like Chavez, has often been accused of having ties to the FARC. The Liberal Party senator is president of “Colombians for Peace,” a group of prominent Colombians that seeks a political solution to the country’s 46-year-old violent conflict.
Criminal charges over her alleged ties to the FARC were dropped by the Supreme Court, because the high court saw “no conclusive evidence” of illegal activity and said that the senator “was acting on the part of the government,” which had authorized her to mediate.
Cordoba has the right to appeal the inspect general’s ruling.