British Government Unaware of Colombian President’s Drugs Trafficking Links

Justice For Colombia News | on: Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Despite widespread press coverage and leaked documents from US intelligence agencies alleging that he worked with cocaine traffickers, the British Government yesterday claimed that they had not received any information about the relationship between Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez and drugs traffickers. Several sources have suggested that the President was closely tied to infamous drugs baron Pablo Escobar – a story picked up by both Newsweek and the New York Times – though to date the British Government claim to have had "no reports" about such allegations.

The most damaging evidence against the President is a declassified report from the US Defence Intelligence Agency containing a list of several individuals identified as "Colombian narco-traffickers". At number 82 on the list was then Senator Alvaro Uribe, who the report describes as "dedicated to collaboration with the Medellin [drug] cartel at high government levels." It goes on to describe him as a "close personal friend of [Medellin cartel leader] Pablo Escobar".

The report, which can be seen on the website of the Washington-based National Security Archive, also claims that Mr Uribe's father was murdered "for his connection with the narcotics traffickers" – the President has always claimed that it was leftwing FARC guerrillas murdered his father. According to Newsweek magazine Mr Uribe has not properly addressed the allegations.

In 2007 further allegations were made by Escobar's former lover, Virginia Vallejo, who claimed that Uribe and the drugs baron were close friends and that Uribe, at the time the Director of Civil Aviation, had provided the Medellin cartel with "dozens of licenses for landing strips and hundreds for the aircraft and helicopters on which the infrastructure of the drug trafficking industry had been built". Ms Vallejo also claimed that Pablo Escobar had on occasion lent Uribe his helicopter – an allegation echoed by others.

The allegations were followed in December 2007 by a report by Miami Herald journalist Gerardo Reyes that yet another helicopter, this time one belonging to President Uribe's father, had been seized during an anti-drugs raid on the infamous Tranquilandia cocaine laboratory complex. Several other sources have also described Mr Uribe as being close to those involved in the drugs trade though many potential witnesses have either died, disappeared or been murdered.

As a result of the concerns about Uribe's potential drugs trafficking links, last month Jeremy Corbyn, a British Member of Parliament, formally asked the British Government to comment on the reports. However, in their answer yesterday Foreign Office Ministers claimed not to have received any such reports. Justice for Colombia has subsequently sent the FCO copies of all of the relevant documentation.

See also: Former US Ambassador Attacks Colombian President Over Drug Trafficking Ties

Click here for the official parliamentary record of the question and answer concerning Uribe's links to drugs traffickers.



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