Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Colombia: Gov’t admits to spying on Uribe’s opponents

Who would’ve figured that being such a close ally of the U.S. president would lead Colombian leader Alvaro Uribe (image) to seemingly take a page from Bush’s playbook?

Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos admitted yesterday that the government set up an illegal wiretap program against politicians and journalists critical of President Uribe. Though Santos denied that Uribe was aware of the secret program, opposition politicians called for the president to assume "political responsibility."

Meanwhile, Colombia’s “para-politics” scandal continues to deepen with the declarations from former paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso that he met twice with Defense Minister Santos and Vice President Francisco Santos before they were part of the Uribe administration. Mancuso confessed that the former encouraged him to create an alliance to defeat former president Ernesto Samper while the latter proposed that he make a right-wing paramilitary group in the Colombian capital of Bogotá.

In addition, an article published over the weekend in Colombian newsmagazine Semana alleged that imprisoned paramilitary leaders continue to be involved in the drugs and arms trade.

Along with the arrests of twenty former and current politicos for ties with paramilitary groups and the resignation of the head of police, the “para-politics” firestorm against President Uribe's allies will not go away anytime soon.

And somehow Uribe still maintains skyrocketing popularity!

Links (English)- The Latin Americanist, CBS News, Reuters, Guardian UK, Plan Colombia and Beyond, Bloggings by Boz

Links (Spanish)- RCN, El Tiempo

Image- swissinfo

No comments: