Pastrana’s remark referred to the fact that Pablo Escobar escaped from prison just weeks after the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Carrillo, left his former office as the minister of justice in 1992.
This particular episode, which seems reminiscent of a Colombian telenovela, began earlier in March when ex-president Andres Pastrana, who led the failed 1998-2002 negotiations with Colombia‘s largest rebel group FARC, said the guerrillas are “setting the agenda” in ongoing peace talks with the government. Pastrana indicated how his peace talks, though unsuccessful, were at least transparent, whereas the current talks continue behind closed doors. This obscurity, he claimed, benefits Santos’s re-election prospects.
“It is unfortunate that the former president [Pastrana] ends up aligning with the extreme right in this country, the warmongering group that is fighting the peace process,” Carrillo said during an impromtu press conference on Sunday at the president’s offices in Bogota.
Early Tuesday morning Pastrana struck back in an interview with Blu Radio.
“Where is the tolerance, where is the opportunity to express opinion? I make an analysis and it’s raining fire and lightning. Why is the Government allowed to talk with the FARC but when I speak everyone criticizes [me]?” Pastrana lamented.
Ironically, the ex-president began the interview with this short-lived declaration: “I will not engage in controversies with the errand boy of Escobar.”
Pastrana has remained a vocal critic since he left office in 2002.