Colombia’s controversial former President, Alvaro Uribe, saw his legal problems become even bigger on Tuesday when his most powerful political rival announced lawsuits.
Senator Ivan Cepeda said he would sue two far-right opinion leaders and investigate whether former president Alvaro Uribe is also guilty of slandering the leftist senator.
Cepeda, who was falsely accused by Uribe of witness tampering, said he will sue far-right former Interior Minister Fernando Londoño and far-right journalist Gustavo Rugeles.
The Democratic Pole senator said he will additionally seek protection for himself and members of the Supreme Court at the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR).
In a press conference, Cepeda said he has been the victim of “a campaign orchestrated by Uribismo.”
Cepeda intends to take action against Uribe for what he considers to be the spreading of false information about the leftist senator and witnesses claiming Uribe and his family were deeply involved in the formation of death squads in Antioquia in the 1990s.
“We are going to study what is the role of former President Uribe, who tweeted this false information on his Twitter account,” Cepeda said.
Cepeda said Uribe is seeking to undermine the authority of the Supreme Court, after Uribe’s attempts to sue Cepeda backfired and triggered a criminal investigation for witness tampering against the political patron of President-elect Ivan Duque.
The former president has challenged the impartiality of three of the Supreme Court’s judges, which Cepeda said was part of a “campaign against the court.”
“This situation, at the legal level, we have to debate in the natural scenario, which is the Supreme Court of Justice, you do not need to be a barrister or a lawyer to understand that what is being plotted is a campaign against the Supreme Court of Justice to ensure impunity,” said Cepeda’s lawyer, Reinaldo Villalba.
Uribe initially accused Cepeda of witness tampering after publishing witness testimonies in a book over the former president’s alleged leading role in the formation of the Bloque Metro paramilitary group in his home province of Antioquia.
The Supreme Court, however, dismissed the charges and said that it appeared Uribe had been tampering and threatening witnesses.
Multiple witnesses in cases against Uribe have been murdered during the political career of the former Medellin Cartel associate.
When Supreme Court President Jose Luis Barcelo ordered extra security measures for one of the key witnesses in the case against Uribe, he revealed that the former head of state was suspected of “conspiracy to commit a crime, homicide and others.”
Cepeda said he believed that Uribe will continue to try to coerce witnesses.
He referenced the witness Juan Guillermo Monslave in particular, claiming that he and his family have been put under increasing pressure by political and criminal associates of Uribe.
The Uribe family has been controversial since their rise to prominence in politics and business in the 1970s when late drug lord and Congressman Pablo Escobar imposed the “plata o plomo” rule, meaning that those who were with the Medellin Cartel would be rewarded while detractors would be murdered.
Despite his admitted business ties to Medellin Cartel founders and his alleged ties to death squads, Uribe continues to enjoy popularity among conservative and far-right Colombians who support his radically anti-communist rhetoric.