Former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe on Monday defended his choice to post photos of dead policemen after political opponents derided the action as tasteless political opportunism.
“The murder and abduction of policemen and military personnel cannot be taken as…routine because it legitimizes [the actions of] the FARC [Colombia’s largest left-wing guerrilla force],” Uribe told Blu Radio.
As a staunch critic of the peace process between the FARC and the Colombian government, Uribe criticized the choice of the latter to negotiate with a group that would commit a crime as heinous as the murder of three policemen.
“I have spent many years explaining how the murder of police and military causes us great pain, and our need for solidarity [to combat it],” said the former president.
BACKGROUND: FARC kill 3 policemen in north Colombia
The graphic photos, one of which showed a policeman lying on the road in a pool of blood, were posted by Uribe on the social media website Twitter on Friday.
The ex-president compared his Twitter posts to the dissemination of Holocaust-era concentration camp photos.
“What would have happened had the reality of Hitler’s concentration camps been hidden from the world,” wrote Uribe the day after posting the photos.
Qué tal qué el mundo hubiera ocultado la realidad de los campos de concentración de Hitler!
— Álvaro Uribe Vélez (@AlvaroUribeVel) February 2, 2013
Uribe’s actions sparked strong condemnation from politicians and the public.
“The blood of our policemen is our blood. It cannot be exhibited like a trophy of war against peace,” said Colombia’s interior minister, Fernando Carrillo.
“It is one thing to be against the peace process — and I am — but it is quite another to use the dead to torpedo the government; police officers have died before,” stated Hernandez Mora, a columnist for Colombian newspaper El Tiempo and noted critic of the peace process.
“Do not spread these images which magnify the pain of the families [of the dead policemen]” and “contribute to the notoriety of the perpetrators,” said the director of the National Police, General Jose Roberto Leon Riaño.
Our party “rejects playing politics with the pain of the families of the police,” said Liberal Party president, Simon Gaviria.
Uribe is a strong critic of both the peace process and the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos. The ex-president is currently being investigated for his purported ties to the founding of a paramilitary organization in the 1990s. Despite such allegations, Uribe has forged ahead in his political career with a new political party, Pure Democratic Center, which announced their 2014 election campaign on Saturday.
NEWS ARCHIVE: Santos vs Uribe