Colombian newspaper El Espectador released video Sunday in which extradited drug lord “El Tuso” testifies that former President Alvaro Uribe was involved in a conspiracy with his spy agency and former paramilitary leaders to discredit the country’s Supreme Court.
In the six-hour long interrogation, El Tuso affirmed recently released statements by senior AUC chief “Don Berna” that former paramilitary leaders conspired with the Uribe government to discredit the court that after 2006 increasingly unveiled ties between coalition politicians and the AUC, which is held responsible for the forced disappearance and killing of tens of thousands of Colombians and deemed a terrorist organization by the U.S. in 2002.
According to El Tuso, whose real name is Juan Carlos Sierra, “we all worked for a common good” and that the main political accomplices in the conspiracy “were [the ex president’s jailed cousin] Mario Uribe, [the ex-president’s brother] Santiago Uribe, [former presidential adviser] Jose Obdulio Gaviria, [jailed former chief of staff] Bernardo Moreno, [exiled former spy chief] Maria del Pilar Hurtado, [jailed intelligence executive] Martha Leal and former President Alvaro Uribe.”
The extradited drug lord, who falsely demobilized as a member of the AUC in order to receive benefits, the DAS worked together with several demobilized paramilitary leaders such as Don Berna, “Ernesto Baez,” and “Julian Bolivar.”
According to El Tuso, the first of conspiracies was the one fronted by “Tasmania” who falsely accused Supreme Court magistrate Ivan Velasquez of bribing the former paramilitary into testifying that the former President was directly involved in a massacre.
Following that, Uribe aides, former paramilitaries and the DAS worked together in discrediting former Congresswoman Yidis Medina who was sent to jail for accepting government bribes for a crucial vote that allowed the 2006 reelection of Uribe.
“We were looking to neutralize the court in every way” El Tuso said from his prison in Virginia.
The drug lord testimony comes a week after Don Berna, who is held prison in New York, also accused the presidential palace of being behind the smear campaign against the Supreme Court.
Uribe’s defense attorney, Jaime Granados, dismissed the drug lord’s testimony on RCN Radio, saying that the accusation is part of a “criminal vengeance of those who were extradited by the Uribe government.”
El Tuso was one of 14 leaders of the AUC who in May 2008 were extradited to the United States without the constitutionally necessary approval of the Supreme Court. The action was condemned by the court, the Prosecutor General’s Office and representatives of the tens of thousands of victims of the AUC, who accused Uribe of trying to prevent the paramilitaries from revealing their ties to politicians and economic elites.