The Colombian Supreme Court wanted former President Alvaro Uribe‘s attempt to get re-elected in 2010 to fail because of an ongoing feud with the executive branch, according to a WikiLeaks cable released by newspaper El Espectador.
The “interbranch feud” between the judiciary and the executive began as a result of the DAS wiretapping scandal.
In a May 13, 2009, diplomatic cable sent to Washington, then-U.S. Ambassador William Brownfield described conversations with former Constitutional Court judge Mauricio Gonzalez in which the magistrate predicted that the struggle between the two branches of government would not be resolved quickly.
“The Supreme Court wants to see Uribe’s re-election bid fail and various government officials incarcerated for the DAS’s activities,” said Gonzalez
The statement referred to Uribe’s attempt to run for a third term in office in 2010 after already altering the constitution to run for an unprecedented second term in 2006.
The judge told Brownfield that the government had failed to produce details about the DAS wire-tapping scandal to the court which, in his words, had squandered any goodwill to improve the relationship between Uribe and the judges.
Former chief of the DAS counter-intelligence Jorge Alberto Lagos attributed the deterioration of the relationship between the court and the government to the involvement of Uribe’s advisor, Jose Obdulia Gaviria, and his personal secretary Bernardo Moreno, in the illegal wiretapping of Supreme Court judges.
In October 2010, Moreno was barred from holding public office for 18 years after a Supreme Court judge convicted him of ordering the DAS to carry out illegal wiretaps. Gaviria is currently under criminal investigation.
Former director of DAS Andres Peñate told the U.S. ambassador that he feared the Supreme Court was looking for scapegoats and that the judges “would not be happy until government officials — ideally Jose Obdulia Gaviria — were imprisoned.”
In a separate WikiLeaks cable released in February, Peñate accused Obdulio Gaviria of ordering illegal wiretapping of the U.S. ambassador. Peñate himself is currently under investigation for involvement in the scandal.
The executive branch “turned up the heat” against the judiciary as well, with former Partido de la U president Luis Carlos Restrepo renewing his request that Congress investigate several Supreme Court judges for their alleged links to narco-traffickers.
Brownfield wrote that in regard to the ongoing feud between the judicial and executive branches, “most observers see no end in sight.”