Political leaders from both Colombia’s coalition and opposition parties on Wednesday rejected statements by former President Alvaro Uribe, who defended the political asylum of his former intelligence chief claiming his former officials are politically persecuted.
Luis Eduardo Garzon, leader of the opposition Green Party, accused Uribe of performing “international diplomacy against the supreme court.”
In an interview with Caracol Radio, the Green Party leader said Uribe “is using befriended parties and governments like Panama and Spain, which will complicate international relations,” adding that Uribe’s actions are promoting impunity.
Fellow-opposition party Polo Democratico said former DAS director Maria del Pilar Hurtado is misusing international asylum laws.
“I do not agree with the statement by former President Uribe, because with the asylum in Panama it is suggested that President Juan Manuel Santos is politically persecuting Uribe,” senator Jorge Enrique Robledo told RCN Radio.
Spokesmen of parties within the coalition of President Juan Manuel Santos joined the opposition in criticizing Uribe. German Varon, vice-president of coalition party Cambio Radical, told the same radio station that Uribe is making a mistake judging the work of Colombian justice. “This branch is autonomous. If not we would not be in a State of Justice.”
According to Conservative Party spokesman Telesforo Pedraza, what Uribe is doing “is tarnish the efforts, with all its weaknesses, that have been made to strengthen justice.”
Liberal Party leader Rafael Pardo demanded Panama revoke the asylum granted to the disgraced spy chief.
Partido de La U senator Roy Barreras, a loyal supporter of Uribe, expressed a milder criticism on the former president’s statements. “What should have been done is respond before justice, but one has to respect the decisions of countries that grant asylum,” the senator told RCN.
At least two of Uribe’s closest aides have requested political asylum abroad following criminal investigations against them. Panama granted asylum to Del Pilar Hurtado who is accused of ordering the illegal wiretapping of the supreme court, journalists, politicians and human rights activists, while Costa Rica said it turned down an asylum request by former Interior and Justice Minister Sabas Pretelt de la Vega, who is investigated for the bribery fo congressmen to approve the 2006 re-election run of Uribe.