This just in: a US-supported president responsible for human rights violations attacks his own supreme court…

This time I’m not talking about Musharraf, but about Uribe, Colombia’s president. Some of the best analysis in English on Colombia comes from the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), and this piece on Uribe’s recent bizarre accusations against Colombia’s Supreme Court is one such.


This time I’m not talking about Musharraf, but about Uribe, Colombia’s president. Some of the best analysis in English on Colombia comes from the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), and this piece on Uribe’s recent bizarre accusations against Colombia’s Supreme Court is one such.

Quick recap of the para-politica scandal: for many years it has been known that Colombia’s paramilitaries, which run drugs, kidnap civilians, massacre peasants, and murder poor people, homeless, queers, and others, work closely with Colombia’s military (sharing personnel, equipment, training, and so on) and with Colombia’s politicians (often working on their behalf or buying their cooperation). In recent years some high-profile paramilitaries have turned themselves in to confess these links to politicians and the military. Army officers have explained the dynamics of the cooperation. Physical evidence, in the form of memos and documents, have been made public. Whole hard disks full of information from duty rosters to signed pacts have been made public. Almost all of the politicians connected with paramilitarism are also connected to the President, Alvaro Uribe Velez. Some call it, instead of para-politica, para-Uribismo.

Uribe himself has been accused and evidence presented of paramilitary links, dating back to when he was the mayor of Medellin (the National Security Archive of the US has documents mentioning such connections, for example). Like Musharraf’s problems with torture victims, some of the evidence is coming out in a somewhat independent judiciary, which has thus become the focus of attack, as explained in the article in COHA. Uribe’s standard tactic is the fanciful public accusation – often the paras themselves can take it from there. Uribe has done so against journalists and opposition politicians. The latest accusation is that a supreme court judge bribed a paramilitary leader to say that he worked with Uribe.

The COHA article also reminds us of the massacre of Colombian supreme court judges in 1985 at the palace of justice, when the army stormed a hostage situation by the M-19 guerrillas, and the importance of an independent judiciary.

Justin Podur

Author: Justin Podur

Author of Siegebreakers. Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction. Teach at York U's FES. Author. Writer at ZNet, TeleSUR, AlterNet, Ricochet, and the Independent Media Institute.