Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe will meet Tuesday with U Party senators who have seats on the First Committee of Constitutional Affairs to discuss issues of contention between himself and current Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.
Uribe will meet U Party senators Juan Carlos Velez, Manuel Enriquez Rosero, Carlos Enrique Soto, Roy Barreras and Karime Motta to discuss issues of military justice and the future of the U Party.
Velez, a close associate of Uribe, said, “Without doubt the central theme is military justice (…) he is very concerned with this issue and I, as I said, support him. We will also talk about legislation that has been called the legal framework for peace. These are the topics of interest to Uribe and, of course, we listen.”
Uribe strongly opposes Santos’ initiatives to reform the military justice system. Specifically, Uribe is against Santos’ proposal to remove Article 12 of the justice reform which requires that all crimes relating to the military be handled in military courts.
Senator Soto defended Uribe’s position, saying, “The U Party is an advocate of military courts and the community supports the decision to maintain Article 12.”
Santos was Uribe’s chosen successor, but the two have become fierce political opponents since Santos took office. Last week, Uribe accused Santos of getting elected by portraying himself falsely as a proponent of the Uribe platform. This meeting with party members has been seen by some as an escalation of the ongoing dispute.
Uribe has already launched his own ideological platform called the Foundation Center First Thought Colombia. According to former High Commissioner for Peace and Uribe confidant Luis Carlos Restrepo, the foundation “is the center for research and dissemination of the development model promoted by President Uribe, both nationally and internationally. His research, publications and advice will be a reference for future generations to work in state-building.”
Others have criticized Uribe for his attacks on Santos. Former President Ernesto Samper said, “Although it is not a secret that many who voted for Santos also voted for the the previous government, that does not mean that President Uribe is the owner of President Santos or that he (Santos) should quit. Santos is the president, won democratically and he determines the direction of the country.”