Colombia: Uribe Fulminates in Parapolitics Showdown

The image “https://i2.wp.com/i113.photobucket.com/albums/n216/cbrayton/tasmania.png” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Who is Tasmania? Semana on the case today. The magazine’s Daniel Coronell had a heated exchange with President Uribe on the affair yesterday, on Radio Caracol.

The prosecutor in charge of Tasmania’s case said yesterday in Medellín that in the session in question the name of President Uribe was never mentioned, and that the former AUC mid-level commander “is lying.” — EL TIEMPO

“You tell lies. You do not have journalistic scruples, you have hate, deceit. You, you have disgracefully made insinuations against me regarding paramilitarism, go and find me one single charge against me,” he said to journalist Daniel Coronell. –Quoted in EL TIEMPO

Earlier this year, when the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution forbade pardoning the crime of forming paramilitary groups, Uribe railed against the court, accusing it of having an “ideological bias.” Previously he had lashed out against prominent Colombian media when they had revealed allegations that Uribe’s former intelligence chief, Jorge Noguera, had collaborated with paramilitaries. “In a country like Colombia, where journalists and judges have often been killed because of their investigations, the president should exercise the utmost care to avoid even the appearance of intimidating them or putting them in jeopardy,” said Vivanco. —Human Rights Watch

24 horas de tensión entre el Presidente y la Corte Suprema: EL TIEMPO (Bogotá) reports on an institutional clash between the executive and judiciary in which, it reports, the Supreme Court is discussing the option of resigning en masse.

Uribe sayshe wants one of the justices investigated on corruption charges. CNN:

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe publicly accused a Supreme Court judge of bribing a jailed warlord into testifying that Uribe plotted to murder another paramilitary chief.

Human Rights Watch‘s press release on the matter:

Yesterday, Uribe issued a public statement calling for an investigation into allegations that a Supreme Court justice, Iván Velásquez, had sought to persuade an imprisoned individual to provide testimony implicating the president in an assassination. Uribe stated that he had received a letter from this individual denouncing the justice’s actions. Uribe also stated that he directly called Justice Velásquez, to ask him about the allegation. Velásquez is the head of the Supreme Court team charged with investigating links between politicians and abusive paramilitary groups.

“Abusive”? HRW’s position statement:

“Against all odds, Colombia’s Supreme Court has been making unprecedented progress in investigating links between paramilitaries and politicians close to the president,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “President Uribe’s phone call to the judge charged with these highly sensitive investigations amounts to political pressure that could intimidate the court and affect the outcome of the cases.”

On Uribe’s insistence on the notion that public disclosure of developments in the parapolitics scandal affecting has party, see also

EL TIEMPO recaps the flap:

Mientras que la Corte en pleno respaldó al magistrado auxiliar Iván Velásquez, el Presidente Uribe dice que es “muy grave” que se deseche su denuncia sin haberla investigado primero.

While the full court backs associate justice Velásquez, President Uribe is calling the Court’s refusal to accept his charges, without a prior investigation, is “a grave matter.”

El motivo de la controversia es la reunión que sostuvieron en un despacho del piso 21 del edificio José Félix Restrepo, en el céntrico sector de La Alpujarra, en Medellín, hace exactamente un mes, dos magistrados auxiliares de la Corte que llevan los procesos de la ‘parapolítica’, Iván Velásquez y Adriana Camargo, con el paramilitar ‘Tasmania’, mando medio de los ‘paras’ del suroeste de Antioquia, y su abogado.

The cause of the controversy is a meeting held on the 21st floor of the Restrepo Bldg. in the downtown district of La Alpujarra, in Medellín, exactly one month ago, between two associate magistrates of the Constitutional Court who are overseeing “parapolitics” cases, Velásquez and Camargo, with the paramilitary mid-level commander from southwest Antioquia known as Tasmania and his lawyer.

Sobre las 10 de la mañana del 10 de septiembre, los funcionarios llegaron a la Fiscalía 8 Especializada, en la que hay apenas tres escritorios atiborrados de expedientes judiciales, llegaron y se encontraron con el paramilitar, que venía declarando como testigo en la investigación por varios asesinatos cometidos por las autodefensas en esa zona.

Around 10 am on September 10, the two court official arived at the 8th Special Prosecutor’s Office, with its scant three offices piled up with legal documents, to meet with the paramilitary, who has been giving testimony in the investigation into a number of murders committed by the “self-defense” groups in this area.

EL TIEMPO supo que en el curso de la conversación salió a relucir el nombre del senador Mario Uribe Escobar, primo del presidente Álvaro Uribe Vélez, que en ese momento tenía una investigación preliminar en la Corte y que la semana pasada renunció a su fuero, después de que lo llamaron a indagatoria.

EL TIEMPO learned that during the course of the conversation, the name of Senator Mario Uribe Escobar, cousin of President Uribe, came up. Uribe Escobar is currently the subject of a preliminary investigation in the Court, and last week resigned his seat in the Senate after being summoned to testify. 

Al final, según fuentes consultadas, los magistrados investigadores consideraron que el hombre no tenía investigación útil para ellos y sugirieron que más bien buscara a los fiscales de Justicia y Paz.

In the end, according to sources we consulted, the investigating magistrates concluded the man did not have any useful investigations for them to follow up on and suggested he seek out the Justice and Peace prosecutors. 

El Gobierno sigue dándole credibilidad a la versión que ‘Tasmania’ entregó de ese encuentro: que el magistrado Iván Velásquez le había ofrecido beneficios para que vinculara al presidente Álvaro Uribe y al empresario Ernesto Garcés Soto en un supuesto plan para asesinar a ‘René’, el jefe de su bloque, en el 2003.

The Government continues to give credit to the version that Tasmania gave of this meeting: that Justice Velásquez offered him benefits if he tied President Uribe and businessman Ernesto Garcés Soto to an alleged plan to assassinate, Rene, commander of his AUC bloc, in 2003.

El Gobierno considera que los magistrados están desechando la denuncia sin haberla investigado antes, si bien ellos pidieron anoche a la Fiscalía y a la Procuraduría que hagan claridad sobre la actuación de Velásquez.

The Government believes the magistrates are refusing to accept the charge without first investigating it — although the Court did ask prosecutors last evening to clarify Velásquez’s conduct in the case.

El magistrado investigador, quien asegura que eso nunca pasó y que si estuvo hablando con el paramilitar fue porque su abogado lo contactó porque supuestamente tenía información importante para la investigación de la ‘parapolítica’.

The investigating magistrate, who states that this never happened and that if he was speaking with a paramilitary it was because the man’s lawyer contacted him about supposedly important information in the “parapolitics” case.

La fiscal que lleva el caso de ‘Tasmania’, Ana Elena Gutiérrez, dijo ayer en Medellín que en la sesión nunca se mencionó al presidente Álvaro Uribe y que el ex Auc “está mintiendo”.

The prosecutor in charge of Tasmania’s case said yesterday in Medellín that in the session in question the name of President Uribe was never mentioned, and that the former AUC mid-level commander “is lying.”

Uribe, el presidente de la Corte Suprema, el magistrado auxiliar y la fiscal fueron protagonistas de primera línea en las principales emisoras de radio del país, que se convirtieron en escenario del nuevo round entre poderes.

Uribe, the chief justice, the investigating magistrate and the prosecutor were front-line combatants on the major radio stations of Colombia, which made a scene of this new round of clashes among the branches of government.

Un anticipo de esa situación se vivió el mismo lunes. Uribe llamó a Hora 20, un espacio de opinión de Caracol Radio, y allí aceptó preguntas de los panelistas por espacio de casi una hora. Después llamó a otros programas de radio y televisión en los que participó casi hasta medianoche.

A first sign of this situation arose on Monday. Uribe called Hora 20, an opinion show on Radio Caracol, and took questions from panelist for about an hour. Afterwards, he called other radio and TV programs, in which he participated until nearly midnight.

Imagine Bush on the phone to Rush Limbaugh all day long.

Ayer, madrugó a hablar en La FM de RCN. Pidió que le pusieran en la línea al periodista Daniel Coronell, uno de sus más duros críticos. Y la tensión fue grande. Uribe le endilgó ser un “difamador”, un “miserable” y un “cínico” por su última columna en Semana, en la que Coronell valida algunas de las afirmaciones del libro de Virginia Vallejo sobre Pablo Escobar.

Yesterday morning, he got up early to talk to RCN’s La FM. He asked that they get journalist Daniel Coronell on the line — one of his harshest critics. Tensions ran high. Uribe lashed into him as a “slanderer,” a  “bum” and a “cynic” over his latest column in Semana, in which Coronell validates some of the statements in Virginia Vallejo’s book on Pablo Escobar. 

El Presidente criticó la información divulgada por EL TIEMPO ayer sobre su enfrentamiento con la Corte y la calificó como “frívola”.

The President criticized reporting by this newspaper yesterday on his showdown with the court, calling it “frivolous.”

Su entrega a las declaraciones radiales matutinas (casi cuatro horas en diferentes espacios) le descompuso toda su agenda.

His participation in morning radio shows (almost four hours, on different venues) was his entire agenda for the day.

Varios congresistas de la coalición que habían sido invitados a Palacio para hablar sobre el proyecto de reforma a la Ley de Justicia y Paz, cuyo trámite debía iniciarse la víspera, se quedaron esperando la llegada de Uribe.

Various congressmembers of the government coalition that had been invited to the presidential palace to discuss the bill for reforming the Justice and Peace Law, debate on which was due to start the previous evening, were left waiting for Uribe to arrive.

El episodio abortó también una conferencia de prensa convocada por el canciller Fernando Araújo sobre la sentencia de la Corte de La Haya sobre el diferendo limítrofe entre Honduras y Nicaragua.

The episode also caused the cancellation of a press conference called by foreign minister Araújo on the ruling by the Hauge on the Honduras-Nicaragua border dispute.

Cinco blancos del presidente Álvaro Uribe en su día de mayor tensión

Five broadsides fired by Uribe on the day of greatest tension:

“Ahora sale a decir que yo estoy obstruyendo la justicia. Y aquí vino hace unos días a pedir que un pariente suyo se lo entraran a un postgrado de medicina de una Universidad”, dijo sobre el Magistrado Sigifredo Espinosa.

“Now he comes out and says I am obstructing justice. And he came here a few days ago to aks that a relative of his be admitted to the medical program at a university,” Uribe said of Justice Espinosa.

“Dijo que yo había violado un pacto con la Corte Suprema, y que propuse un acto legislativo de tutela para pagarle a la Corte Constitucional la sentencia que aprobó la reelección(…) Me parece grave”, declaró sobre el magistrado Yesid Ramírez.

“He said I had violated a pact with the court, and that I proposed a bill to pay them back for their ruling that approved my reelection. That seems ver serious to me,” he said of Justice Ramírez.

“Usted dice mentiras (…) no tiene inquietud periodística sino saña, dolo. Usted, que miserablemente ha hecho insinuaciones contra mí sobre paramilitarismo, camine y déme un solo cargo de mi parte”, le dijo al periodista Daniel Coronell.

“You tell lies. You do not have journalistic scruples, you have hate, deceit. You, you have disgracefully made insinuations against me regarding paramilitarism, go and find me one single charge against me,” he said to journalist Daneil Coronell.

“Mi fórmula vicepresidencial era Juan Lozano, con quien tengo una amistad de muchos años, pero Francisco Santos me buscó y me dijo ‘nómbreme a mí, que lo quiero acompañar’. Entonces le dije que sí”, afirmó sobre el Vicepresidente Francisco Santos.

“My pick for vice-president was Lozano, with whom I have a friendship of many years, but Francisco Santos came to me and said, “Name me, I want to be by your side.” So I said yes,” he said, of Santos. 

“En lugar de presentar la denuncia que el Presidente pide dice: ‘Se agrava la crisis entre el Presidente y la Corte Constitucional’. Eso es mentira, aquí todo lo que hay es que se piden unas aclaraciones, eso es todo”, aseguró en referencia a EL TIEMPO.

“Instead of reporting on the charge against the President, it writes: “Crisis deepens between President and High Court.” This is a lie, all that is happening is that explanations are being requested,” he said in reference to EL TIEMPO.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s