Before President Santos confirmed Monday that his government had begun “exploratory negotiations” of peace with the FARC, Uribe publicly wondered, “what is it that they are going to negotiate? Are they going to negotiate terrorism with the rural development? Can they negotiate the tax policy with terrorism? Can they negotiate human rights with terrorism? Are we going to negotiate with the fathers of violations of human rights, which are these terrorists? This is inadmissible, this is a democratic country.”
While speaking at a public event in the city of Barranquilla, Uribe accused Prosecutor General Eduardo Montealegre of setting a bad example for Colombians and alleged that the country’s highest prosecutor prefers the guerrilla leader “Timochenko” in Congress as opposed to involved in terrorism.
“It alarmed me to hear the Prosecutor General say that he prefers Timochenko in Congress than Timochenko shooting. It hurt me and I say this with all the respect for the Prosecutor General. This is what we are achieving in Colombia — permissiveness, complacency with terrorism,” said the former president according to news site El Universal.
“Prosecution has the obligation to bring these criminals to jail, […] and the prosecutor offering indulgence to terrorists, this is a bad example to the country. This is not the justice that we want,” said Uribe.
Uribe has long held the standpoint that any negotiation with the guerrillas could only begin once they had completely ceased criminal activities. He claimed that during his eight years of presidency he declared the FARC to be terrorists, and that governments of other countries such as the United States, the European Union and Canada all accompanied his opinion. Uribe said that with Santos as acting president, this idea is receding.
“You can reincorporate civil life, calmly to those that have only incurred the crime of sedition, in political crimes. But what can you negotiate with the narco, with the kidnapper, with the extortionist, with anyone responsible of violating the international humanitarian right. The only thing that you can negotiate with them is the submission to justice,” argued Uribe.
The ex-president concluded saying that if they were to continue the current path of the government, “we are going to rapidly see military members in jail and [FARC guerrillas] Timochenko and Ivan Marquez in Congress aspiring to the presidency. This will be made easy for them. We ask the Gods of Colombia to give us energy for this battle and make these absurdities more difficult for them.”
In his declarations, Uribe also claimed that the peace process announced by Santos would favor the re-election of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. He said that the radical plan of Santos comes close to the timing of the Venezuelan elections and Colombian negotiations with the FARC would give electoral publicity to the dictatorship of Chavez.
Relationships between Colombia and Venezuela fell drastically during the reign of Uribe, and upon his election in 2010 Santos proposed to reestablish better relations between the two countries.