Uproar over Secret Meeting with Paramilitaries in Presidential Palace

News from Colombia | on: Thursday, 25 September 2008

A political firestorm has been ignited in Colombia after it was revealed that emissaries of a notorious paramilitary death squad leader and drugs trafficker were allowed into the presidential palace last April for secret meetings with senior officials of the administration of President Alvaro Uribe Velez. The Washington Post has reported on the scandal and Colombia's Attorney General has been forced to open investigations into several senior officials.

At least three meetings are thought to have been held where the possibility of undermining the Colombian Supreme Court were allegedly discussed. The Court has been investigating links between paramilitaries and numerous politicians close to the President. Court president, Francisco Javier Ricaurte, recently alleged that the Government and the paramilitaries are involved in a conspiracy to discredit their work and undermine the investigations.

According to reports the meetings involved President Uribe's press secretary, Cesar Mauricio Velasquez, his legal secretary Edmundo del Castillo, an unnamed member of the Colombian intelligence service DAS, and close Uribe political ally and Colombian Ambassador to the Dominican Republic Juan Jose Chaux. The paramilitaries were represented by the lawyer of national paramilitary commander Diego 'Don Berna' Murillo and paramilitary spokesman Antonio 'Job' Lopez, who was himself assassinated by unknown killers last month.

For further information see today's article in the Washington Post "Secret Meeting Sparks Inquiry".

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