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News > Latin America

Colombia: Uribe Withdraws Senate Resignation Amid Bribery, Fraud Probe

  • Uribe during a press conference Tuesday.

    Uribe during a press conference Tuesday. | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 August 2018

A week after announcing his resignation citing the Supreme Court case against him, former Colombia President Alvaro Uribe has changed his mind.

Alvaro Uribe has announced he would be withdrawing his decision to resign from his seat in the Colombian Senate, announced via Twitter last week, in another tweet published to his official account.

Colombia: Uribe to Appear Before Supreme Court in September

“I have asked Senator Ernesto Macias, president of the Senate, to retain my resignation letter without considering it,” Uribe tweeted early Wednesday.

His latest announcement puts an end to the controversy surrounding his resignation.    

In a press conference, Monday Uribe responded to questions on his resignation by claiming it was “an insubstantial matter,” stressing it wasn't submitted to avoid a judicial process in the Supreme Court, an accusation made by his political opponents. Uribe also argued his decision was taken to allow him to have more time to prepare his defense.

Since former president Uribe announced he would resign, members of his party, the Democratic Center, began a lobbying campaign to dissuade their leader from leaving Congress.  

Macias even delayed the congressional debate over Uribe’s resignation, saying he was hoping Uribe would reconsider.

On Wednesday, during a radio interview, Macias said: “Alvaro Uribe has reconsidered his decision (...) he heard the pleas of the parties, including the left-wing parties, not to abandon parliament.”

Colombia: Uribe's Resignation A Strategic Move?

Despite warnings by progressive sectors that Uribe’s decision to leave Congress was a political maneuver to take the case against him for bribery and procedural fraud linked to witness tampering away from Colombia’s highest tribunal of justice, progressive did not respond with joy to Uribe’s latest announcement.  

Senator Aida Avella, of the Decent list, showed her dissatisfaction arguing “a delayed publicized resignation, that has not followed regular procedure, generates a fuzz and media defense of a judicial accusation, plunging the country in a comedy.”

The process in the Supreme Court began in February followed an investigation against senator Ivan Cepeda (Alternative Democratic Pole), who was accused by Uribe of fabricating fake witnesses against him and his brother Santiago to link them with paramilitary groups in Antioquia.

Uribe’s formal accusation was filed after a Senate debate on political control in 2014, during which senator Cepeda presented the statements of paramilitary bosses Pablo Sierra and Juan Monsalve who said the Uribe brothers were behind the creation of the Metro bloc of the paramilitary group United Self-Defenders of Colombia, or AUC.   

The court found there was no evidence of Cepeda tampering witnesses; instead, it found indications that the former president had attempted to get the former paramilitary members, who spoke with Cepeda, to recant.

After the supreme court announced its official investigation o Uribe, the senator presented a legal request to have three justices recuse themselves arguing they were biased against him and that they had allegedly leaked information on the case to the media.

The supreme court called Uribe to appear before the court on September 3.

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