A congressman from Colombia’s Conservative Party (Partido Conservador) has called for the legal disbandment of former President Alvaro Uribe’s political party following recent events surrounding the ex-president’s alleged involvement in a hacking scandal.
Congressman Arturo Yepes declared that Uribe’s Democratic Center (Centro Democratico) party was organized with the intent to commit crimes, and that the National Electoral Council (CNE) should take legal action to dismantle the party.
“The best thing that can happen to the country is the precedent this country feels that it will not organize a political cause to commit crimes against democracy, against peace and against the rule of law,” said Yepes.
The congressman’s statement comes on the heels of allegations made by accused hacker Andres Sepulveda, who claims to have spied on ongoing peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC rebel group, the country’s largest, at the behest of the Democratic Center.
Sepulveda, a “social media contractor” for former Democratic Center presidential candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, now the party’s director, claimed to have worked with active members of the Colombian military to gain access to privileged information and communications relating to the peace talks.
The Zuluaga campaign, he claims, intended to use this intelligence to sabotage the talks, which Uribe and others have staunchly opposed.
“After all that has been revealed from the statements of the hacker (…) what you see is that this party [Democratic Center] was organized to commit crimes,” said Yepes.
The Conservative congressman went on to say that if the CNE were to revoke the legal status of the Democratic Center party, then other members of the party who were “deceived by Uribe” would be free to form a different political movement.
While the Democratic Center is an independent hardline political movement, many of its political actors and constituents were drawn from the Conservative Party, the tradititonal right-wing power base in the country.
Uribe, now an active senator, is currently being investigated by Congress for other alleged crimes, including ties to paramilitarism and narcotrafficking. And Sepulveda has been in prison since May, awaiting charges related to his acknowledged role in the wiretapping.
So far, no one from the Democratic Center has been arrested in relation to the scandal. Party officials, including Uribe and Zuluaga, have consistently denied any wrongdoing and portrayed Sepulveda as a political operative sent to infiltrate the party.