Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Colombia’s Ex-President @AlvaroUribeVel Calls Ties to #Medellin Cartel #FakeNews

Colombia’s ex-president Alvaro Uribe has rebuffed declassified United States cables containing claims he had ties to the Medellin Cartel in the 1990s.

Uribe dismissed the accusations, and ongoing speculation, that his early Senate election campaigns were financed by the Ochoa crime family that helped Pablo Escobar found the infamous cartel. “I have never received money for my campaigns,” Uribe said in a video posted on his Twitter account, rejecting the accusations as “fake news.”

Uribe questioned that the central figure giving testimony in the US files, the late Luis Guillermo Velez, a long-time friend of the former president, would conspire against him.

“When I aspired to be the Governor of Antioquia, how strange that Luis Guillermo Velez, a close friend of Juan Manuel Santos, who now appears as an informant against me, supported me to be governor,” he says.

The former president contends that his 1990 campaign was managed by Jose Roberto Arango, the current CEO of television network RCN. He has acknowledged growing up with the Ochoa family.

The polarizing figure questioned the timing of the cable release, just days out from presidential elections in Colombia where his protege Ivan Duque would be a favorite to become the nation’s next president.

Uribe is also under investigation by the Supreme Court for funding paramilitary groups responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians. Yet investigations have been stalled with the murders of several witnesses along with, according to the court, multiple others being intimidated at the hands of Uribe.

The US Defense Intelligence Agency and several investigative journalists have supported claims of Uribe’s ties to the now defunct Medellin Cartel.

According to the US embassy, receiving money from drug cartels was “a near universal practice in Colombian politics” at the time.

Thanks to Jarrod Demir.

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