Colombian Prosecutor General’s Office has issued an arrest warrant for
Guaviare Governor Oscar de Jesus Lopez, who is under investigation for his
alleged links to right-wing paramilitary groups.
The warrant was issued for Lopez “because of his suspected links to
Vicente Castaño, alias ‘El Profe,’ and Pedro Oliverio Guerrero
Castillo, alias ‘Cuchillo,’” two former leaders of the United
Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC, militia federation, Prosecutor
General Mario Iguaran said in a statement.
President Alvaro Uribe plans to suspend the governor, Iguarán said.
we are dealing with a sitting governor, the Prosecutor General himself
has asked the President of the Republic to move forward and suspend him
from office,” Iguaran said.
Lopez’ links to the Sociedad de
Exploracion y Exportacion Minera del Llano Limitada, a company in which
Guerrero Castillo, a fugitive, is a shareholder, are under
investigation, the attorney general said.
The mining company was created in 2005, when Lopez was a businessman.
On May 13, 2008, the Colombian government extradited 14 former AUC chiefs to the United States.
The former AUC commanders were wanted in the United States on drug, money laundering and other charges.
AUC, accused of committing numerous human rights violations,
demobilized more than 31,000 of its fighters between the end of 2003
and mid-2006 as part of the peace process with the Uribe administration.
the terms of the 2005 Peace and Justice Law, pushed through Congress by
the U.S.-backed Uribe administration to regulate the paramilitaries’
reinsertion into society, former AUC members face a maximum of eight
years in prison if convicted of any of the scores of massacres of
suspected rebel sympathizers attributed to the rightists over the years.
Constitutional Court upheld the law in 2006 but conditioned the
sentence reductions on full disclosure and confession of crimes and
reparations to victims.
The penetration of the AUC into
Colombian politics came to light in November 2006 when the so-called
“para-political” scandal broke, and more than 60 legislators, the
overwhelming majority of them supporters of Uribe, now in his second
four-year term, have been implicated.
Since then, more than 60
politicians, including some three dozen members of Congress, have been
arrested for their alleged links to the AUC.