It has been revealed that Colombia’s former right-wing President Alvaro Uribe paid huge sums to a witness in exchange for a favorable testimony in court. Uribe is one of Colombia’s most notorious US-backed presidents, responsible for numerous human rights abuses during his time in office. He is currently on trial for fraud and bribery charges, as well as investigations about his links to the paramilitary death squad called ‘Bloque Metro’.
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The Colombian newspaper El Tiempo confirmed the validity of claims made by former paramilitary ‘Victor’ that Uribe’s lawyers had paid him over half a million dollars, along with other payments, for a favorable testimony.
‘Victor’ is a former paramilitary with Bloque Metro, the right-wing death squad that Uribe is alleged to have helped found. It is reported that Victor was supposed to testify that one Alberto Guerrero had never been part of the group. This was needed because Guerrero is who first exposed Uribe’s role in the death squad. In an exclusive interview with teleSUR in 2013, Guerrero outlined in detail Uribe’s links to his former group.
Guerrero has stood by his claims, despite considerable intimidation, and the murder of other such witnesses. He is one of just two surviving members of Bloque Metro.
The website Colombia Reports argues that the revelations and collapse of the witness means the charges against Uribe could soon be upgraded to more serious ones.
Uribe is the figurehead of right-wing paramilitarism in Colombia. He cooperated closely with the U.S. under ‘Plan Colombia’ to intensify the country’s civil war. Today, he opposes the 2016 peace accords signed by the state and the FARC. He recently called on his ally President Ivan Duque to scrap the agreement.
Uribe’s trial is ongoing, however, all the court's proceedings are taking place behind closed doors with no reporters allowed in. Local media have had to rely on unverified reports from second hand sources. Evidence for the bribes were confirmed as they took place outside the courtroom.