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Cable 1016: 2007 US Embassy Report on "Para-Political" Scandal in Colombia

Cable 1016: 2007 US Embassy Report on "Para-Political" Scandal in Colombia

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Published by Andres
This is a 2007 US embassy report providing updated information on the scandal surrounding links between prominent Colombian politicians and outlawed right wing paramilitary organizations.
This is a 2007 US embassy report providing updated information on the scandal surrounding links between prominent Colombian politicians and outlawed right wing paramilitary organizations.

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Published by: Andres on Jan 26, 2013
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01/26/2013

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P 091524Z OCT 07FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9363C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 007240SUBJECT: PARA-POLITICAL SCANDAL UPDATE
REF: BOGOTA 5530Classified By: Political Counselor John Creamer -Reasons 1.4 (b, d)¶1. (C) Summary. The Supreme Court has linked 37of Colombia's 268 legislators to the formerparamilitaries, with fourteen members in jail, onea fugitive, and twenty-two under formalinvestigation. Congressmen facing investigationinclude Mario Uribe, a distant cousin and longtimepolitical associate of President Uribe. Jailedpoliticians are pushing for legislation to allowthem to avoid prison and re-engage in politics.President Uribe has said politicians convicted ofties to illegal armed groups should tell the truthabout their para ties, face the "political deathpenalty", and serve some jail time. Despite thescandal and falling poll ratings, Congresscontinues to function in a normal fashion. Endsummary.
 
------------------------------- Number of Implicated Pols Grows-------------------------------
¶2. (U) In September and October the Supreme Courtannounced that six additional members of Congressface formal investigation for alleged ties to ex-paramilitaries. With that announcement, the numberformally implicated in the para-political scandalhit 37 with:--Fourteen members of Congress jailed foralleged para-ties--one already pleaded guilty;--One member wanted and on the run (likely inEurope); and--Twenty-two other members under formalinvestigation by the Supreme Court("Indagatoria").¶3. (U) The media has linked ten other legislatorsto the scandal and dozens of other politicians atthe state and national level are underinvestigation.¶4. (U) The Court also announced that SenatorMario Uribe, President Uribe's distant cousin andlongtime political associate, is underinvestigation. Mario, head of the small GOCcoalition Colombia Democratica Party, allegedly metwith former-para leaders--including SalvatoreMancuso--and benefited from corrupt para landdeals. On October 4, Mario resigned from the
 
Senate to fight the charges, a tactic aimed attransferring jurisdiction of the case from theSupreme Court (which investigates Congress) to theProsecutor General (Fiscalia). Uribe, reacting tothe Court's decision on Mario, told the media, "AsPresident my duty is to support Justice. As aperson, I feel sad."
------------------------------Jailed Politicians Seek Relief------------------------------
¶5. (U) Congressional contacts tell us jailedpoliticians are pushing for a new law that wouldreduce or eliminate jail time for para-politiciansand allow them to continue in politics. On October5, four jailed Congressmen issued a statement fromLa Picota prison urging Congress to passlegislation that would make penalties for jailpara-politicians "proportional" to Justice andPeace Law (JPL) penalties for ex-paramilitaries.Under the JPL, ex-para leaders face 5-8 years ofjail time, while politicians face penalties of 6-14years. No bill has been presented to address thestatus of the jailed politicians, but severallegislators publicly support the principle ofproportionality.
-------------------------------------------GOC and Congressional Leaders: No Surprises-------------------------------------------
¶6. (C) Secretary of the Presidency Bernardo Moreno

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