On the fourth day of Colombia’s trial of the century, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear three former paramilitaries and one of the assistants of former President Alvaro Uribe, who has been charges with fraud and bribery.
Witness #17 | “Castañeda”
“Castañeda” is a former mid-level commander of the Bloque Metro paramilitary group that was founded by Uribe and his brother in the 1990s, according to two former members.
Uribe used the former paramilitary commander’s written testimony to support criminal charges against opposition Senator Ivan Cepeda in 2014 that were dismissed last year and laid the basis for the criminal charges against the former president.
Castañeda is going to have a tough day; he an three other former paramilitaries went on record in 2013 claiming they feared for their lives after having testified before a court about Uribe’s alleged ties to paramilitary death squads.
According to the Supreme Court, the former paramilitary later changed his claims in Uribe’s alleged conspiracy to discredit the testimonies of the two key witnesses who have testified the former president formed the Bloque Metro and “politically finish off Senator Ivan Cepeda and discredit the debate he was promoting about paramilitarism in Antioquia.”
Uribe was wiretapped talking to several people allegedly involved in manipulating Castañeda to withdraw his initial accusation and falsely accuse Cepeda instead.
Witness #18 | Hernan Dario Cadavid
Hernan Dario Cadavid is an attorney and one of the assistants of the Democratic Center in the senate. It is unclear how he is involved in Uribe’s alleged fraud and bribery practices.
Witness #19 | “Diana”
“Diana” is the former political chief of the Cacique Pipinta bloc who took part in a conspiracy to convince one of her former paramilitary subordinates, “Victor,” to testify in favor of Uribe, according to wiretap transcripts published by journalist Daniel Coronell.
Like Castañeda, Diana is going to have a tough day, because “Victor” reportedly flipped, confessed to having received bribes and surrendered evidence to support the criminal charges against Uribe.
Diana has the choice of confirming the evidence and Victor’s testimony or risk perjury charges.
Witness #20 | “Fosforito”
“Fosforito” is a former paramilitary fighter who demobilized with the Bloque Calima. Uribe announced Fosforito would testify in his favor in August last year, half a year after the Supreme Court filed criminal charges.
According to Uribe, Fosforito is willing to corroborate the already dismissed claims that Cepeda was manipulating witnesses.
According to the opposition senator, the former paramilitary is one of the members of the “false witness cartel” of Uribe’s fixer who was called in at the last minute to defend the former president.