After perhaps one of the most contentious senate sessions seen in Colombia, Congress appears to be more polarized than ever as a number of official complaints are to be filed over accusations made during Wednesday’s debate on the alleged criminal past of former President Alvaro Uribe.
While Leftist senator Ivan Cepeda used up his 90 minutes to present documentation of Uribe’s alleged ties to the Medellin cartel and paramilitary organization AUC, Uribe issued several charges against a range of politicians and officials, from senators to President Juan Manuel Santos.
These accusations caused a storm of controversy as the two sides – Uribe’s Democratic Center and those who oppose it – have dug into their positions and prepared for legal action.
The man who presided over the event, Senate Commission President Jimmy Chamorro, and Bogota public television network Canal Capital, have said that they will be filing official complaints after Uribe denounced them for alleged ties and alliances, according to Colombia’s Semana magazine.
Chamorro was accused of receiving money from drug cartels, while Uribe claimed that Canal Capital was “aligned with terrorism.”
Opposition member Claudia Lopez of the Green Alliance called Uribe’s response a “sultry spectacle” done by a “sewer leech” who left the building to avoid debate on the allegations against him.
Maria del Rosario Guerra of the Democratic Center has, for her part, said that she anticipates her party preparing debate on politicians’ ties to the FARC, alluding to Cepeda.
Some questioned whether Wednesday’s debate will serve to further justice and reconciliation or whether it has only further divided an already polarized Congress.
“The divides already existed, they aren’t new, hopefully this will serve as a true repentance for the country, but I’m not sure that it’s possible,” Senator Antonio Navarro was reported as saying.
It is expected that much of what happened in the debate will ultimately have to be adjudicated in a court of law.