Anticorruption Czar: “Uribe Gave Me the Mushroom Treatment”

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Do not reality-test the press release:
El Espectador reproduces today the press clipping, sent to the Herald by Uribes’s Tony Snow, in rebuttal to the Herald‘s reporting. The release announces the sale of the helicopter in question — HK2704X — from Cromos magazine. The Herald had reported that no official record of the tranasaction could be found to confirm this press release.

“I called José Obulio and they did not give me a satisfactory explanation … he told me the opposition was constantly trying to criminalize the president’s conduct, which is a valid explanation, but not responsive to my question.”

Gobierno me ocultó expediente que vincula padre de Uribe con la muerte del mío: Zar Anticorrupción: “Government hid report linking Uribe’s father to the death of my father, says [former] anticorruption czar.” EL TIEMPO reports.

Rodrigo Lara Restrepo, hijo del ministro de Justicia Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, asesinado por la mafia, dijo que desconocía el texto y se enteró que el gobierno lo tenía por el periodista Gerardo Reyes.

Rodrigo Lara Restrepo, Justice minister Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, assassinated by the maifa, said he was not familiar with the text and learned that government had it through journalist Gerardo Reyes.

También aseguró que nunca había leído el documento judicial porque “nunca llegó a nada”.

He also said he never read the judical file on the case because “it never arrived at any [conclusions].”

The mushroom treatment: Kept in the dark and fed manure.

El funcionario renunció a su cargo aduciendo motivos personales luego de que el pasado domingo el diario estadounidense ‘El Nuevo Herald’ publicara un artículo donde, basándose en el expediente sobre la muerte del ministro de Justicia se asegura que un helicóptero de propiedad de Alberto Uribe Sierra, padre de Álvaro Uribe, fue incautado en un allanamiento en el complejo cocalero de Tranquilandia, en Caquetá.

The official resigned his post, citing personal reasons, after the Nuevo Heraldo published an article last Sunday in which, based on a report on the death of the Minister of Justice, it stated that a helicopter belong to Alberto Uribe Serra, father of Álvaro Uribe, was seized in a raid on a cocaine-manufacturing plant in Tranquilandia, in Caquetá province.

Según la publicación, el inmolado Ministro de Justicia dijo a varias personas antes de su muerte que esa operación contra Tranquilandia iba a causar su muerte.

According to the Herald, the slain minister told several persons that the operation would result in his death.

Cecilia, hermana del ex ministro, citada por la publicación, aseguró que Lara mencionaba al actual Presidente y a su padre, como ejemplo de la infiltración de la mafia en las instituciones.

Cecilia, the former minister’s sister, quoted by the Heraldo, stated that Lara mentioned the current president and his father as examples of the infilitration of state institutions by the mafia.

En entrevista con ‘La W’, Rodrigo Lara Restrepo expresó que su renuncia se debía a que el Gobierno no le comunicara sobre las pesquisas de Gerardo Reyes. “¡Cómo es posible que todo el mundo sepa y a mí no me cuenten!. Si a mí no me llama el periodista yo me levanto el domingo y desayuno con esa noticia”, dijo.

In an interview with La W radio, Lara Restrepo said his resignation came because the government did not inform him of the investigation conducted by Reyes. “How is it possible that everyone knows, and don’t tell me! If the journalist had not called me, I would have woken up Sunday and read the news over breakfast,” he said.

Según Lara, desde el 23 de octubre, funcionarios de Palacio sabían que se estaba escribiendo un artículo sobre el tema, y César Mauricio Velásquez -jefe de prensa-, José Obdulio Gaviria y el presidente estaban al tanto de la situación.

According to Lara, Palace officials knew since October 23 that an article was in the works on the topic, and press secretary César Mauricio Velásquez, José Obdulio Gaviria and President Uribe were apprised of the situation.

“Yo llame a José Obdulio y no me dieron una explicación satisfactoria… él me dijo que la oposición intentaba constantemente criminalizar el comportamiento del presidente, que es una explicación válida, pero no respondió mi interrogante”.

“I called José Obulio and they did not give me a satisfactory explanation … he told me the opposition was constantly trying to criminalize the president’s conduct, which is a valid explanation, but not responsive to my question.”

Filibustering while changing the subject: It is not a conclusive test for the presence of a “banana-republican guilty plea,” but it is very often correlated with it.

Portuguese has a nice word for this: desconversar — basically, change the subject in order to avoid answering.

So is, “these accusations against me are politically motivated.”

This is sometimes true, of course. But in the absence of any categorical rebuttal of the facts alleged, reliance on this argument alone throws a flag: “Check more closely: possible BRGP.”

Lara asegura que sigue creyendo en el gobierno y que está seguro que esta administración “está combatiendo el narcotráfico, está extraditando bandidos”, pero que lo más respetuoso con sí mismo y con la memoria de su papá era renunciar.

Lara says he continues to believe in the goverment and that he is sure the government is “combating the narcos, extraditing bandits,” but that the most self-respecting thing to do, and most respectful to the memory of his father, was to resign.

Radio W also has this story today:

Jefe de prensa de Palacio dice que correo de Gerardo Reyes no habla de declaraciones en contra del padre de Uribe, el periodista sostiene que sí (La W)

Palace press secretary says Gerardo Reyes’ letter did not mention statements against Uribe’s father. The journalist maintains it did.

César Mauricio Velásquez dice que no creyó apropiado mostrarle ese correo al ex zar anticorrupción.

César Mauricio Velásquez says he did not not think it appropriate to show this letter to the former anticorruption czar.

I will have to listen to that.

The Herald’s last dispatch on the subject, noting the resignation of Lara, included this recap:

En declaraciones judiciales una hermana de Lara Bonilla (Cecilia) y el jefe de la policía antinarcóticos que dio el golpe, coronel Jaime Ramírez Gómez (posteriormente asesinado), aseguraron que el ministro Lara Bonilla les había advertido que la mafia iba a matarlo y que los responsables serían los dueños de los aviones y del helicóptero incautados en la gigantesca fábrica de cocaína.

In sworn statements, a sister of Lara Bonilla’s (Cecilia) and the chief of the antinarco police who conducted the raid, Ramírez Gómez (later assassinated), stated that Lara Bonilla warned them the mafia was going to kill him and that the persons responsible would be the owners of the aircraft and helicopters seized at the enormous cocaine factory.

Uribe Vélez, sus hermanos y una firma a través de la cual tenían la propiedad de la aeronave, 17 días después de la incautación aseguraron por medio de una carta enviada a la aviación civil que el aparato supuestamente había sido vendido por ellos dos meses antes del golpe policial en el que fue incautado pero nunca exhibieron documentación válida que así lo acreditara ni la aportaron a las autoridades que administran los registros aeronáuticos de Colombia.

Uribe Vélez, his brothers and a firm through which they owned the aircraft, 17 days after it was seized, sent a letter to the civil aviation authority saying it had allegedly been sold two months before the police raid. But valid documentation of the sale was never presented attesting to this transaction, nor did officials who registered civilian aircraft provide it.

I can just hear Rumsfeld musing on the case: “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

Antes de publicar la nota, Gerardo Reyes pidió por escrito la versión de Uribe Vélez quien al cabo de dos meses de espera no contestó y también permaneció callado frente a una segunda invitación a dar su punto de vista, hecha pocos días ates de la publicación.

Before publishing the article, Reyes requested, in writing, the president’s side of the story. After two months, Uribe had not responded and also remained silent in response to a second invitation to comment, made a few days before publication.

Ayer, La Presidencia de Colombia, tan pronto renunció Lara Restrepo, divulgó una carta, que según dice enviará a El Nuevo Herald, según la cual la publicación de este diario sería producto de maquinaciones de “individuos empeñados en desacreditarla [a Colombia] e injuriar a sus autoridades legítimas”.

Yesterday, just after Lara Restrepo resigned, the Colombian presidency released a letter which it says it will send to the Nuevo Herald, according to which what this newspaper published is the product of machinations by “individuals working to discredit [Colombia] and defame its legitimate authorities.”

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