The written statement that former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe presented to the Colombian Supreme Court regarding his cousin Mario Uribe’s alleged involvement in “parapolitics” has been made public.
Caracol Radio had access to the four page document in which Alvaro Uribe responded to nine questions over his cousin’s alleged collaboration with paramilitary forces around the time of his election to Congress in 2002.
Mario Uribe, a former Senate president, is accused of holding discussions with the now-disbanded AUC paramilitary forces to gain votes, as well as using his relationship with the group to buy cheap land in the department of Cordoba.
The court ordered that Alvaro Uribe answer the questions as part of an investigation into Mario Uribe’s claims that he met with now-extradited paramilitary commander Salvatore Mancuso in order to make a case for a peace pact with paramilitary forces.
In the document the former president states that Mario Uribe “never took steps of any kind, in front of the president or in front of the government, for these groups and never participated in the peace process that the government undertook with the auto defenses, which culminated in their demobilization and turning themselves in.”
Alvaro Uribe also denied using his position as president to help his cousin with his 2006 congressional candidature.
“As I indicated … all of this government’s policy is general and applies to all citizens without regard for particular situations or subjectivity. In effect, I reiterate that never, either personally or through my government, did I make a decision or give instructions that would benefit the candidature of Doctor Mario Uribe Escobar, the government acted with completed impartiality towards all of the Congress candidates of the republic,” Uribe’s testimony reads.
The former president admits that at the height of his 2002 presidential election campaign, Congressional candidates who supported his bid of the presidency benefited from supporting him. He names not just Mario Uribe but also the current Minister for the Interior and Justice German Vargas Lleras as benefiting.
The Supreme Court also wanted to ascertain the origin of important votes Mario Uribe received in the Cordoba department and asked the former president if his cousin had engaged in “allocating resources” to the municipalities of Minteliebano, Chinu, Sagun, Puerto Libertado and Planeta Rica between 2002 and 2006.
“Doctor Mario Uribe Escobar never in any way participated in the allocation of resources for the national government’s social investment project in the period between 2002 and 2006 in the Cordoba municipalities,” Alvaro Uribe states.
Mario Uribe’s attorney, Nodier Agudelo, has argued that his client’s electoral success in Cordoba was achieved because President Uribe expressed public support for the campaign, and the result of his dealings with illegal armed groups.
The former president’s testimony will be taken into account by the court in its ruling on the current parapolitics trial of Mario Uribe. The former congressman was first elected in 1994 and served until 2008, when he was first arrested on charges of paramilitary collaboration. He was released in August 2008 due to lack of evidence and re-arrested in February 2010.