The Prosecutor General’s Office is to investigate Jorge Visbal Martelo, Colombia’s ambassador to Peru, for his alleged ties to paramilitary groups, El Espectador newspaper reported Monday.
The investigation is to be launched following the testimony of demobilized paramilitary John Jairo Sanchez, alias “Centella,” who claimed that Visbal was involved in a 2004 meeting with paramilitaries in which he attempted to enlist their support for the re-election of then President Alvaro Uribe to his second term in office.
According to Centella, Visbal, who was a senator at the time, organized a meeting with now extradited paramilitary commander Rodrigo Tovar Pupo, alias “Jorge 40,” in an attempt to secure the support of the AUC’s Northern Bloc for Uribe’s re-election.
The prosecutor assigned to the case will now evaluate the evidence before deciding whether the Supreme Court will bring formal charges against Visbal.
Caracol Radio reports that in the meantime Visbal will be asked to explain his reasons for attending the alleged meeting.
Centella has made similar allegations in the past against other governmental figures and Martelo himself resigned from Congress in 2009 following previous allegations of his ties to paramilitary death squads.
El Espectador also reports that statements made by another demobilized paramilitary, Rodolfo Useda Castaño, alias “Julio Castano,” allege a number of other similar meetings took place in the southwest department of Nariño, in which politicians sought political collaboration from paramilitary groups.