Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Under House Arrest
Above photo: Alvaro Uribe ordered to be held under house arrest. EFE.
The Colombian Supreme Court of Justice has ordered the preventive home detention of Senator and former President Alvaro Uribe for the crimes of procedural fraud and bribery. The Latin American right-wing leader became the first former president to receive this type of arrest order, suspected of trying to manipulate the statement of a defendant who linked him to the creation of paramilitary groups. “The deprivation of my freedom causes me deep sadness for my wife, for my family and for the Colombians who still believe that I have done something good for the country,” lamented Uribe, the political godfather of current President Ivan Duque, who came out to defend him publicly, calling him an “honorable” man.
The highest Colombian court considered it necessary for Uribe to remain in detention at his home until he goes to trial for an investigation that began in 2018. As a parliamentarian, he has no privileges but the privilege of only being able to be investigated by the highest court.
Uribe, 68, has always claimed his innocence but must now face justice for bribery and procedural fraud, crimes that are punishable for an average of eight years in prison.
In 2012, the former Colombian president filed a complaint against leftist senator Ivan Cepeda for an alleged plot against him based on false testimony. The former president claimed that Cepeda had contacted former paramilitary prisoners to get them involved in the criminal activities of the ultra-right-wing groups that fought the leftist guerrillas.
But this maneuver backfired on him and the court instead of prosecuting Cepeda decided to open an investigation against Uribe under the same suspicion in 2018.
From that moment, Uribe is accused of an attempt to manipulate the accused, Juan Guillermo Monsalve, an ex-paramilitary who linked him to the creation of the paramilitary block Metro de las Autodefensas, which operated in the department of Antioquia, of which Uribe was governor between 1995 and 1997 with impunity.
The well-known relationship between Uribe and the paramilitary groups has been publicly denounced over the past few years, but Colombian President Ivan Duque defended him again in dialogue with Radio Caracol after the news broke.
“I believe that he is a person whose behavior includes the word honorable, and one knows that in politics there are characters who generate love, dislike, criticism, but I believe that by being objective, we all recognize what Colombia was in 2002 and the Colombia we saw in 2010,” Duque said of Uribe’s years as president.
From the other side, the former candidate for president and current senator for the left-wing Colombia Humana, Gustavo Petro, was cautious when he received the news. “Do I feel happy? No. It has never given me satisfaction that a person loses his freedom. I would not be a democrat if the opposite happened to me. Uribe must be defeated at the polls or Colombian society will never be able to pay its debt: that of the fascism that eats this country up,” he wrote on his Twitter account.
The Revolutionary Alternative Force of the Common (FARC) party, made up of members of the former guerrilla group that signed peace with the Juan Manuel Santos government in 2016 and has since been boycotted by the right-wing led by Uribe who has done everything possible to scuttle the peace agreement, celebrated the ruling. “The tyrants want to convince us that they are untouchable, that they can do whatever they want against the people and that nothing will ever happen to them. But the truth is that no matter how untouchable they think they are, in the end, the people will triumph over them,” the ex-guerrilla party tweeted.
Translation Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau.