Green Party presidential candidate Antanas Mockus rejected on Tuesday the support for his campaign by disgraced ex-Senator Rocio Arias, one of Colombia’s most infamous “parapoliticians,” who was convicted of ties to paramilitary groups.
Speaking to W Radio, Mockus responded to the question of “What do you think of the support that was expressed by former Senator Rocio Arias towards your campaign,” by answering, “Thank you, but no! I do not want the support of the ex-Senator, because of what she represents and has done. We have checked all of our records and we have nothing on file of her giving any financial support to our campaign, nor from her daughter.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the ex-Senator, who was released from prison in October of 2009 after serving 27 months for making pacts with paramilitary death squads, offered her support for Mockus in his bid for the presidency.
“I believe that the conditions are right for him to be an excellent president. He is a transparent, clean, sincere, honest and capable man, and those are sufficient reasons to support him,” Arias said in an interview with El Espectador.
Arias, clarifying that her support is completely “voluntary” and that she has no official relations with the Green Party campaign, went on to explain that to her, Colombia is at a point in its development in which it needs a change, and a “breath of fresh air.”
“Colombia needs a transformation,” Arias went on, explaining that the current “head of state [Uribe] and that form of government has completed its cycle and I am not one to judge if that was good or not, but it is clear that it is necessary to give the country a breath of fresh air… The people are asking for new blood to enter into politics, and he embodies the interests of many Colombians, Mockus meets the conditions necessary to bring the country forward.”
Following her release from prison in October, Arias criticized the Uribe administration, calling the Justice and Peace process set up by the Uribe government to demobilize paramilitary fighters a “failure.” She said she regretted having yielded to the authorities and accepted the charges against her.
Arias also said that she would not vote for the re-election of President Alvaro Uribe because she no longer considers him a friend, and that she felt “abandoned” by him during the two years she spent in jail.