Through a video on his official Twitter account, former senator Álvaro Uribe published a video in which he responded to the accusations made by former paramilitary chief Salvatore Mancuso. Credit: @AlvaroUribeVel / Twitter
In the only real hearing before the JEP, Salvatore Mancuso mentioned several times the name of former President Álvaro Uribe and his alleged links to the expansion of paramilitaries in the country, as well as the influence of this phenomenon in the 2002 elections, which led to his presidency. Precisely, the ex-president answered the former paramilitary commander said accusations.
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With an almost 11-minute video, Uribe Vélez explained the reasons why Mancuso was extradited to the United States: according to his version, several journalists informed him of a possible escape plan by him and other former paramilitaries who, at that time, They were being held in the Itagüí prison. Added to that, and contrary to what was declared by the appearing party, it was not to hide the truth of what happened with the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia and the links with the public forces and political figures.
“The Police told me that from that jail they continued to commit crimes. I felt the powerlessness of our prison system to prevent crime. They were extradited. It was never to hide the truth,” the former president narrated during the video published on the night of Tuesday, May 16.
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With the main AUC commanders extradited in the North American country, Uribe pointed out that his family had warned him about reprisals that could be committed against him for endorsing that decision. These, according to his testimony, were not heard and the extradition processes were carried out in 2008, during his second presidential term.
Although he acknowledged that he knew of Mancuso, he clarified that he was never friends with him; “I was able to be because his family was well known. I greeted him two or three times, we never met or went beyond a greeting. I said this to the public opinion since before my presidential election. In that order, he denied what the former paramilitary member had said before the JEP about the two meetings he would have had with the former president, his alleged entry into the “El Ubérrimo” farm, and the dialogues he had to strengthen the paramilitary project in Antioch.
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The former president also denied the support of paramilitaries for his campaign towards the Casa de Nariño, said that no money came from these groups and that the resources managed at election time were managed by the Antioquia businessman Fabio Echeverri Correa “with discipline and transparency ”. He also mentioned that Father Francisco de Roux, president of the Commission for the Clarification of the Truth, had called him to tell him that Mancuso said they should vote for him in the 2002 elections.
“The father suggested that I go to Barrancabermeja to express my rejection, I could not travel, but I produced a statement rejecting those supports. Roux’s father knew the statement and has confirmed it. Once in the presidency, he affirmed, the public forces confronted guerrillas and self-defense groups “equally” within the framework of the democratic security policy.
A separate issue, he said that the local leaders of more than 300 municipalities received their security schemes in the face of threats from illegal armed actors. Immediately afterwards, he mentioned the case of Eudaldo Díaz, mayor of El Roble (Sucre) murdered by paramilitaries, according to what Mancuso stated,
“Everyone received protection regardless of the political background of their choice; However, there were murders like the one of the mayor of El Roble (Sucre) by paramilitaries at the beginning of 2003, when our government began (…) Mancuso, 15 years after being extradited, accuses me of having taken away his protection,” he stated. Uribe.
Finally, the former President of the Republic said that he will denounce Salvatore Mancuso “in all legal scenarios” in Colombia and the United States, where he is still being held under probation. In the same way, he described as “malicious threats” the assertions against him and other ex-presidents such as Andrés Pastrana and Francisco Santos.