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  • A student burns the image of former president Alvaro Uribe during a protest against recent masacres. Bogota, Colombia. August 28, 2020.

    A student burns the image of former president Alvaro Uribe during a protest against recent masacres. Bogota, Colombia. August 28, 2020. | Photo: EFE/Carlos Ortega

Published 31 August 2020
Opinion

The former president's connections to organized crime developed even before his role as governor of Antioquia department.

A recently declassified U.S. Department of Defense document reveals that the U.S. was monitoring former Colombian senator and president Alvaro Uribe Velez's relations since his first presidential administration. 

The document, a memorandum shared on the U.S. National Security Archive website, is dated from August 2004 and signed by then-Assistant Secretary of Defense, Peter W. Rodman.

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In the document, Rodman references a report by the U.S Special Operations Command (SOCOM) from 1991, which affirms that Uribe was linked to drug traffickers, specifically Pablo Escobar and the Medellin Cartel.

This document, together with U.S. diplomat cables, intelligence reports, and confidential notes, were obtained by the National Security Archive research institute through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. 

According to the institute, the declassification process showed no evidence that the U.S. government, under President George W. Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, took any actions with regard to this information.

On the contrary, in another declassified document, a high-level Pentagon official praised the Colombian Army under Uribe for killing 543 rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and capturing 1,063 more in the first half of 2003 alone.

Alvaro Uribe currently finds himself under house arrest, having been convicted under a criminal process for bribery of exparamilitaries, his objective to avoid being linked to any organized criminal activities. 

Dozens of legislators, including Uribe's allies, have been convicted and jailed for their links to paramilitaries in Colombia, which establishes a clear connection between mainstream Colombian politics and these irregular armed groups. 

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