Former president Alvaro Uribe has stepped up accusations that Colombia’s government is persecuting political opponents while catering to the “extreme left” as judicial pressure on his allies mounts.
Colombia’s conservative opposition leader has had a tough weekend after what has already become a tough opposition to the administration of his successor, President Juan Manuel Santos.
On Friday, former presidential candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga was called into questioning over his alleged role in the illegal spying on ongoing peace talks while campaigning for the 2014 – 2018 presidency.
On Saturday, Uribe’s former spy chief was arrested in Panama for her alleged role in the spying on the Supreme Court, journalists, human rights workers and politicians deemed inconvenient for the former president’s administrations.
Juan Manuel Santos
Oscar Ivan Zuluaga
Colombia’s former spy chief surrenders to authorities at Panama embassy
The increased judicial pressure, or “torture” as Uribe described it in a video to supporters, has been promoted by “Santos, sectors close to the FARC [rebel group] and the extreme left that seeks to take control of justice,” the former president claimed.
In previous statements, Uribe had indicated that these extreme leftist forces consist of leftist Senator and victims rights defender Ivan Cepeda and the Jose Alvear Restrepo collective of human rights lawyers, both victims of the illegal spying practices carried out under Uribe’s watch.
The former president insisted that Zuluaga is the victim of a conspiracy and political persecution, a claim that has been denied by Santos and his prosecutor general, Eduardo Montealegre, on several occasions.
Colombia government denies political persecution of conservative opposition chief
Uribe went on to accuse Santos of interfering in the judicial branch and questioned the integrity of Montealegre because of his role in a major corruption scandal involving the mass embezzlement of public health funds.
Colombia’s largest healthcare company embezzled 300M after govt takeover: Senator
“In our government there were discussions, but we didn’t interfere” in the justice system, said Uribe.
The legal trouble of the former president and current senator, one of the most divisive politicians in Colombia of this century, began shortly after assuming the presidency in 2002.
Midway his eight-year rule demobilized commanders of the right-wing paramilitary umbrella organization AUC began blowing the whistle over their ties to government officials, congressmen, members of the military and the Uribe family.
Since then, other scandals have arisen over the bribing of congressman to allow his 2006 reelection, the embezzlement of government funds, the mass execution of innocent civilians, among others.
Persecución política/ Santos hizo coincidir declaración de (Alvaro Uribe)
“La justicia no debe estar sometida al Gobierno ni debe estar al servicio de sectores doctrinarios de la política, como pretende la extrema izquierda”: Uribe (Democratic Center)