Extradited former AUC commander Ever Veloza, alias “H.H.,” has claimed that the government of ex-President Alvaro Uribe pressured him to keep quiet about paramilitary ties to politicians, the military and businessmen.
H.H. said that he was specifically asked to omit the names of the ex-governor of Cauca, Juan Jose Chaux, and General Rito Alejo del Rio in statements he made to the courts about paramilitary links with key officials, El Tiempo reported Tuesday.
The ex-AUC leader also asserted that a 2008 meeting that took place in the presidential palace between Chaux and Antonio “Job” Lopez, the former paramilitary spokesman, was aimed at expediting his extradition so that he could not give a full account to the Colombian courts.
H.H. was extradited to the U.S. in March 2009, although there were complaints at the time that the extradition came too soon for him to complete his collaboration with the Colombian judiciary under the 2005 Justice and Peace Law.
“The [Uribe] government’s interest was to get me out because I was the only one that was confessing to the recruitment of children, massacres, narco-trafficking, and links with businessmen and employers,” HH said, before adding that “they tried to silence me.”
H.H. specifically singled out then-press secretary Cesar Mauricio Velasquez, currently ambassador to the Vatican, as having sent messages urging him not to speak about the alleged paramilitary ties.