Colombia’s oldest and largest living rebel group, the FARC, on Wednesday accused former President Alvaro Uribe of being behind the military’s alleged spying on the government and rebel delegations currently engaged in peace talks.
“Of course, Alvaro Uribe is behind all of this. Don’t forget that Alvaro Uribe is public enemy number one of peace in Colombia,” said the FARC’s number two leader and chief peace talks negotiator “Ivan Marquez” on Wednesday morning.
This represents the first formal accusation of the former president in his involvement with this ongoing wiretapping scandal that has shaken Colombia.
Colombian weekly magazine Semana published a 15-month investigative story with accusations that the Armed Forces have been wiretapping both the government’s and the rebel group FARC’s delegations in ongoing peace talks in Havana, Cuba. The report also asserted that the military had been receiving funding and support from the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in carrying out the alleged wiretapping.
Socialist Colombian congressman Ivan Cepeda was quoted in newspaper La Republica suggesting as well that Uribe could have been behind this wiretapping scandal. When speaking with Colombia Reports, the lawmaker did not formally accuse the ex-president of having a hand in this. Instead, he said that “this was an action very clearly intended to destabilize the peace process in Havana. I think this action has been publicly promoted by ex-President Alvaro Uribe, and that the ex-president should be investigated for this situation.”
Just four years ago, Uribe himself was widely suspected of being involved in a large wiretapping scandal that included the illegal spying on and interceptions of calls and emails of opposition politicians, Supreme Court judges, human rights activists and journalists. This scandal ultimately led to the disbanding of the DAS, Colombia’s former security intelligence agency.
Paralleling his claims during the last scandal, Uribe has denied all involvement or knowledge of this new ordeal after rapidly appearing on radio programs and writing press released to the effect.
“The Democratic Center (Centro Democratico-CD) –Uribe’s political party– emphatically rejects the biased and malicious versions of [President Juan Manuel] Santos’ government, the FARC and political sectors that are trying to link the ex-president Alvaro Uribe Velez, with the ‘wiretappings of peace negotiators in Havana’ realized by elements of the National Army,” read a Wednesday morning press release.
Uribe also shot back in an interview with radio station W Radio.
“With an investigation of 15 months, the president had to have known what was happening!” said the former head of state, pointing out that the director of Semana is a family member of Santos.
The FARC, in an official statement also released Wednesday expressed disappointment in the government for allowing this to happen, calling “corruption” and “scandals” and “dirty tactics of war” institutionalized in the country. “This will not achieve generating confidence,” read the statement.
“Marquez” (the nom-de-guerre of Luciano Marin) called this news, “very serious” saying that, “They are not just spying on the government’s peace delegation, but also they are especially doing so on the FARC’s peace delegation.”
Alvaro Uribe has been an avid dissident of the peace talks ever since their official start in November of 2012. The former president has criticized the fourth historic attempt at dialogues with the FARC on many levels, ranging from saying that the government should not be negotiating with terrorists, to releasing photos of some guerrillas lounging on boats during discussions in Havana.
Though Uribe never testified in his initial wiretapping scandal, if more evidence besides accusations mounts against him in this case, he may have to testify before a court, or congress.
- Farc dicen que Álvaro Uribe “está detrás” del espionaje a negociadores (EFE)
- Frente a las amenazas de dirigentes sociales e interceptaciones (FARC-EP)
- Colombia Fires Two Top Intelligence Officers (Wall Street Journal)
- Press Release (Centro Democratico)
- Uribe cuestiona a la revista Semana y arremete contra el Gobierno (W Radio)
- Ex presidente Álvaro Uribe en escándalo de espionaje (La Republica)