Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe met with Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli in Honduras, one day before Uribe’s former intelligence chief controversially was granted political asylum in Panama, several media say.
Uribe was in Honduras for a meeting with President Porfirio Lobo from Sunday November 21 until Tuesday November 23. According to Spanish news agency Efe, Lobo confirmed that on that same Sunday he met with Martinelli. This meeting was not publicly known until Friday when Lobo admitted the Panamanian President had been in the country for a “private visit.”
Lobo met with both Uribe and Martinelli on a military base near the capital of Tegucigalpa. According to Honduran newspaper El Heraldo, Lobo said Martinelli was in Honduras “to talk about investment issues together with the former president of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe.”
Unofficial Honduran sources told Efe that Uribe met Martinelli at the military base to talk about the political asylum that was previously requested by the former director of Colombian intelligence agency DAS, Maria del Pilar Hurtado, who is under criminal investigation in her home country for ordering the illegal wiretapping of opponents of Uribe.
Panamanian opposition politician Mitchell Doens rejected Martinelli’s secret visit to Honduras when Uribe was there. “Imagine a meeting that was not on the agenda of President Martinelli, which was an illegal meeting which was known through unofficial cources instead of the official channels of the presidency,” he told newspaper La Estrella.
According to Doens, Martinelli is protecting Uribe from possible legal trouble in his home country.
Martinelli and Uribe are known to have friendly relations. Both rejected criticism on Panama’s decision to grant asylum to the former DAS director. According to Martinelli, the asylum was a sovereign decision of his government and Uribe said hid former aides lack guarantees for a fair trial in Colombia.