BBC: Colombia drug lord ‘funded Uribe’

News from Colombia | on: Thursday, 23 April 2009

The BBC has reported on explosive allegations in Colombia that a senior paramilitary commander and drugs trafficker made large donations to the election campaign of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. Diego Fernando Murillo, more famously known by his alias 'Don Berna', took over from Pablo Escobar as the major cocaine trafficker in the city of Medellin and has been repeatedly linked to President Uribe. An investigation in Colombia is currently trying to establish why two of his closest lieutenants repeatedly visited the presidential palace in Bogota last year.

One of those that visited the palace, a paramilitary known as 'Job', was subsequently assassinated though it is known that he and Don Berna's lawyer, Diego Alvarez, had at least three meetings with officials inside the presidential residence and that the President himself knew in advance about them. For more see: Uproar over Secret Meeting with Paramilitaries in Presidential Palace

The Colombian political opposition expressed strong concern over Berna's new allegations and made calls for an investigation into the financing of President Uribe's election campaign. However, such a probe is unlikely as Uribe supporters have a majority in the Colombian Congress and the constitution mandates that any investigation into the president must be carried out by Congress.

The new allegations add to the so called 'parapolitica' scandal in Colombia that has seen over 70 of Uribe's allies on the Colombian Congress accused of links to the paramilitaries. Several senior officials have been forced to resign as a result of the scandal though the Supreme Court, who are tasked with investigating the links between the politicians and paramilitaries, have complained that Uribe and his officials are harassing them and interfering with the investigations.

For more on this issue see:

Feb 2009 More Politicians Linked to Paramilitaries in Colombia

Sep 2008 Senior Regional Official, Brother of Interior & Justice Minister, Detained

Sep 2008 Uproar over Secret Meeting with Paramilitaries in Presidential Palace

Aug 2008 Brother of Colombia's Interior Minister Linked to Drugs Lord and Death Squad

May 2008 Key Witness Murdered in Colombia

April 2008 Mounting Evidence of President's Involvement in Massacre

Feb 2008 Politician under Investigation for Paramilitary Ties Appointed as Ambassador to Holland

Sep 2007 Investigation opened against President Uribe's cousin for paramilitary links

Aug 2007 Senator charged with kidnapping and fraud

Aug 2007 Vice President under pressure for paramilitary links

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