overthrow then-President Ernesto Samper in 1996-97.He did not provide evidence to support either ofthese allegations. In addition, Mancuso saidPresident Uribe's cousin Mario and formercongresswoman Eleonora Pineda had entered into anelectoral pact with him. On May 16, Mario Uribepublicly denied making any deals with Mancuso.¶4. (U) Defense Minister Santos said late on May15 he met the paramilitaries and guerrillas in 1997in an effort to broker peace. He acknowledged hemet twice with former paramilitary leader CarlosCastano, but said he had also met with the FARC andELN, all in the company of intermediary AlvaroLeyva. The Defense Minister said, "If this is the'truth' Mancuso wants to reveal, then people aregoing to be disappointed." In a radio interview onMay 16, President Uribe said, "We want to get atthe truth...but it must be put into propercontext." He voiced full confidence in VicePresident Santos and Defense Minister Santos andrecognized they both had long acknowledged pastmeetings with the paramilitaries.
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¶5. (U) On May 16, Mancuso said he was personallyresponsible for the election of 25 of 28 municipalmayors in the department of Cordoba, and claimedother paramilitary leaders were responsible forsecuring the election of mayors and congressmen inother departments such as Sucre. He revealed hehad