Colombia’s ex-President Alvaro Uribe sent an open letter to U.S. newspaper The Washington Post in which he expressed his “profound disappointment” over the publication of an article Sunday in which the newspaper alleged that American money was used to illegally wiretap opponents of the Uribe administration.
According to the former president, who refused to be interviewed by the newspaper on the subject, statements made in the article “manipulate facts and distort reality harming the image of a government that dismantled the paramilitary structures in Colombia and extradited their main kingpins to the United States.”
“During my eight years in office our administration worked hard to restore confidence and to create a path to prosperity for all Colombians. We succeeded in that effort thanks to our daily commitment to work with transparency, consistency and competence, open to public scrutiny,” Uribe said in a statement.
“For all the exposed reasons I consider that the article’s authors have acted recklessly and without any rigor, by placing defamatory accusations and endangering the image of Colombia and my administration, without an impartial evaluation of events and testimonies.”
Uribe, who is accused by victims of the illegal wiretapping practices of intelligence agency DAS of being the mastermind behind the scandal, is currently under investigation by a congressional commission. His former chief of staff is in jail while awaiting conspiracy and other charges and one of his former intelligence chiefs fled Colombia before the Supreme Court could warrant her arrest.
Colombian Congressman Ivan Cepeda — himself a victim of the illegal wiretapping — said on his Twitter that Uribe should appear before international bodies to respond to the wiretapping allegations.
“This is a new aspect for which the ex-president will have to respond before U.S. Congress,” Cepeda told Caracol Radio.
“I will personally take action so that U.S. members of Congress take notice of this matter,” the opposition lawmaker said.
The wiretapping scandal is increasingly harming the political image of Uribe, who saw several of his closest aides be sent to jail on corruption charges or because of the wiretapping. For years, predominantly pro-Uribe lawmakers, including the former president’s cousin, have been sentenced to jail for using paramilitary groups to intimidate voters to gain access to Congress. Uribe has said that he and his allies are victims of a “criminal vengeance,” orchestrated by extradited paramilitaries and their victims.