In a speech to the Nasa tribe, the group disputing the military’s presence on its tribal territory in southwest Cauca department, Cordoba said, “we will collect signatures to revoke the mandate of Congress and may even topple the president of the republic.”
Cordoba went on to express support for the Nasa’s demand that all armed actors–both the FARC and the military, which have clashed in the coca-producing region of Cauca for years–leave its territory at once. The Nasa have drawn international media attention for seeking to expel soldiers from a military base and for sentencing three captured FARC guerrillas to public lashings.
“We will not despise an entire community because of this military base, created by money from taxes for a war that the people do not want or need,” Cordoba said.
Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon called Cordoba’s remarks “outrageous.”
Cordoba issued an open letter this weekend defending her comments as “legitimate, justified, and accurate. [My statements] go to the extreme expedient of thought and freedom of opinion, calling for civilian and peaceful action, as I have done straightforwardly for many years,” she wrote in the letter.
That letter, Pinzon retorted, “bordered on cynicism.”
Cordoba gained notoriety as a senator under the administration of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who served from 2002 to 2010, during which time she accused him of having ties to paramilitary organizations and urged other Latin American countries to break diplomatic relations with Colombia.
Cordoba, for her part, has been accused of links with Colombia’s largest guerrilla group, the FARC, and in May was acquitted of charges that she irregularly financed a colleague’s campaign.