On the 13th day of Colombia’s trial of the century, the Supreme Court will hear one of the surviving former paramilitaries who have testified former President Alvaro Uribe formed his own death squad.
Additionally, the court will hear two former senators who, according to Uribe, conspired to incriminate him, a claim that allegedly was based on the testimonies of bribed witnesses.
Witness #38 | “Alberto Guerrero”
“Alberto Guerrero” is former paramilitary commander who began his career as a fighter for the Bloque Metro and ended as commander of the Bloque Cacique Pipinta.
Guerrero is the witness who got Uribe where he is now, in court instead of congress. The former paramilitary was the first to accuse Uribe of having formed the Bloque Metro with his brother and neighbors in the 1990s.
His claim was later confirmed by a second member of the paramilitary group, Juan Guillermo Monsalve, whose father was the caretaker of one of the Uribe family’s estates in Antioquia.
Guerrero decided to talk in 2011 after he heard that Senator Ivan Cepeda, who was a house representative at the time, had visited prisoners, one of whom testified that Uribe’s sons, Tomas and Jeronimo, had ties to paramilitary chief and mass rapist Hernan Giraldo.
The former paramilitary chief asked his attorney to request a recorded interview with Cepeda and he blew the whistle on Uribe.
What I did was I began to seek support on the left as a measure of protection for myself, my family and to be able to tell the truth. The first I called was Senator Piedad Cordoba. Later, I made contact with […] Ivan Cepeda because he was the president of the House Human Rights Committee, who better than him? I made the first invitation to him in writing and I have a copy, it is I who called him, and then I did the interview with him in Itagui, when I talked about all this parapolitics,.. Two weeks later they brought me here to the Supreme Court and my entire odyssey begins. In that interview I tell President Uribe to demobilize, to tell the truth to this country.
The former president filed slander charges against Guerrero and lost. Among others, Uribe also filed witness tampering charges against Cepeda. These charges boomeranged. In 2018, the Supreme Court absolved Cepeda and filed fraud and fribery charges against Uribe instead.
Guerrero has stayed firm with his claims, despite attempts to intimidate his wife and attempts to assassinate Monsalve.
Just weeks ago, the former paramilitary said that he had evidence to support his initial claim, including a video in which Uribe appeared with paramilitaries.
Uribe’s defense has mainly tried to prove that Guerrero was never a member of the Bloque Metro and therefore could not have known who founded the paramilitary group.
Guerrero is expected to drop a proverbial bomb on Uribe. While he and other former paramilitaries have made statements before, this is the first time Guerrero will testify about Uribe’s alleged paramilitary ties under oath.
More importantly, the Supreme Court has already opened a preliminary investigation against Uribe over his alleged ties to paramilitary death squads. Every word coming out of Guerrero’s mouth will be used in this investigation.
Witness #39 | Piedad Cordoba
Former Senator Piedad Cordoba is the victim of multiple conspiracies by the Uribe administration for which the government of Ivan Duque was ordered to ask forgiveness and the State must pay indemnification.
In this case, the former senator can take revenge. All she has to do is confirm that Uribe falsely accused her of conspiring with Cepeda.
Cordoba got involved in the case because, according to Guerrero, he initially sought contact with her to tell his story and only later ended up talking to Cepeda because the representative was the president of the human rights committee.
Cordoba supported Guerrero’s efforts to get increased security for himself and his family after his testimony brought him evident danger; multiple witnesses and potential witnesses against Uribe have been assassinated.
Witness #40 | Rodrigo Lara
Former Senator Rodrigo Lara, Cepeda and Cordoba were accused by drug trafficker “El Tuso” last year of having offered him benefits to incriminate Uribe while they were visiting extradited members of paramilitary organization AUC in the United States in 2009.
El Tuso has a history of making contradictory statements.
While he was still in a US prison, he cooperated in multiple investigations that got several politicians, including Uribe’s cousin Mario, in prison.
But after he was allowed to leave prison and got a green card in 2013, he went quiet until August 2018 when he began making incoherent claims that Lara, Cepeda and Cordoba had offered him benefits.
According to Lara, his visits to the US with his colleagues were approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Uribe can expect no sympathy from the former Senator. Lara resigned as Uribe’s anti-corruption czar in 2007 when media discovered new evidence of ties between the Uribe family and the Medellin Cartel that murdered his father.