Ex-President Alvaro Uribe sent a letter to the United States’ ambassador to Colombia Wednesday requesting the U.S. to investigate possible ties between the former head of state and Colombian drug traffickers.
Uribe’s request followed the guilty plea of his former security chief who admitted to a U.S. court that while working in the presidential palace he had collaborated with the AUC, a now-defunct Colombian paramilitary organization that has been on the U.S. terrorist organization list since 2001.
The guilty plea was followed by a storm of criticism in Colombian media and a request to the U.S. by Colombian opposition party Polo Democratico to open criminal investigations against the former president’s own alleged ties to the AUC.
Uribe’s defense attorney said in a statament the request was made to “save the good name and honor of mr. Alvaro Uribe.”
The former president wants his former security chief, Mauricio Santoyo, to testify on whether or not Uribe had knowledge of the official’s dealing with paramilitaries.
Santoyo is the second key security member of Uribe’s first administration to be jailed for ties to the AUC; former intelligence chief Jorge Noguera is serving time in a Colombian prison for involvement in drug trafficking and ordering the death of labor rights workers.
Polo Democratico previously asked Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office to open criminal investigations against the former president for his alleged ties to paramilitary groups while he was governor of the Antioquia department. The former head of state is also being investigated by congress for his alleged role in the wiretapping of government critics.
Additionally, Uribe’s former peace commissioner and a second intelligence chief fled the country before being charged of the fraudulent demobilization of a non-existent rebel unit and the wiretapping scandal in which uribe himself is also implicated.