Ex-President Alvaro Uribe defended members of his administration and suggested that corruption cases brought against them might be motivated by “judicial revenge” in an interview with Terra TV.
Concerning the corruption and wiretapping investigations currently being conducted against many of the ministers of his government, Uribe insisted that they were innocent and that the charges against them were baseless.
Uribe defended former Intelligence Minister Maria del Pillar Hurtado and his former Chief of Staff Bernardo Moreno who are currently being investigated for their alleged participation in the wiretapping of Colombia’s Supreme Court. Uribe also defended his former Agricultural Minister Andres Felipe Arias who is accused of diverting subsidies meant for poor farmers to wealthy families and a former beauty queen.
The ex-president said that he hoped the cases against former members of his administration would not become “false positives” a reference to a practice of the Colombian army in which innocent people are killed and then dressed in guerrilla uniforms to inflate the number of enemy combatants killed.
Uribe also said that he had suggested that Hurtado seek asylum in Panama if she was concerned about the charges against her. Hurtado was granted asylum and is currently avoiding prosecution in Panama.
The former president also remarked on the tax embezzlement and health scandals that occurred during his administration and claimed that these allegations were not new, and lamented the fact that the Santos administration had chosen to make such a large “show” of their prosecution.
Uribe added that while Santos has a “legitimate right” to investigate corruption, the former president claimed that when he was in power, he did not seek to embarrass the previous administration and conducted investigations quietly.
The ex-president also remarked that he had taken a great risk in his decision to disband Colombia’s paramilitaries. “When I went to went to extradite the paramilitaries, someone told me ‘Are you ready for the revenge that will come?'”