Former President Alvaro Uribe on Saturday kicked off the political campaign for the 2014 elections, vowing to “retake power” and revive his “democratic security” policy.
The former head of state, presidential hopefuls Oscar Ivan Zuluaga and Marta Lucia Ramirez, and other close Uribe allies, went to the northern city of Riohacha to publicly present the electoral plans of the former president’s new political movement, Pure Democratic Center.
The meeting followed two days after Uribe’s official announcement of his former ministers Zuluaga and Ramirez as his presidential candidates. Both had already personally announced their ambitions for 2014. Other politicians who are on Uribe’s preliminary presidential list are former Vice-President Francisco Santos, diplomatic veteran Carlos Holmes Trujillo and congressman Juan Carlos Velez.
The former president did not expose political proposals, but a road map on how his political movement hopes to recover the political power lost after Uribe left office in 2010 and his successor, current President Juan Manuel Santos, carried out a more centrist policy than his predecessor.
The aspiring presidential and congressional congressmen vowed to reinstate the former Uribe’s democratic security policy whose main pillars have traditionally been security, investor confidence and social cohesion.
The former head of state did not say whether he be running for Congress himself. According to Senator Juan Carlos Velez, a close ally, Uribe will take and announce that decision in June or July.
Uribe, who is enjoying considerable support among Colombians despite high-profile corruption scandals and accusations of widespread human rights violations under his command, has distanced himself from Santos after the latter included political enemies of the former president to his cabinet and carried out a far more liberal policy than his predecessor.
Additionally, Uribe has claimed he and his allies are subject to a “political persecution” after family members and former key members of his administration were sent to jail over corruption charges, the illegal wiretapping of political opponents and using the intimidation of paramilitary death squads to get voted into office. Uribe himself is currently under a number of criminal investigations over his alleged role in the formation of a paramilitary group in the 1990s, the bribing of congressmen to allow his 2006 reelection as president and the wiretap scandal.
Uribe’s supporters praise the former president for drastically lowering the country’s crime rates, dramatically increased foreign investment and unprecedented military successes against leftist rebel groups like the FARC.