Friday, February 16, 2007

Colombia: 9 Lawmakers Arrested for Terror Ties

Imagine if 9 ruling party legislators in Cuba or Venezuela (or any left wing country), including a brother and cousin of the Foreign Minister (pictured above with US Latin czar Thomas Shannon 2 weeks ago), were arrested for aiding and abetting a terrorist group (on the US list). Just think of the outrage that would ensue. According to the Bush doctine, there would be grounds for immediate attack and regime change.

Alas we have seen this happen in a very important Latin country, but instead of outrage, we are seeing barely a notice from any of the mainstream media (a whopping 67 articles thus far on GN), let alone the consciousness of people who matter than . The difference of course, is that the problem is in a US-friendly country = Colombia.

Expect some very interesting trials to be forthcoming, as the scandal moves closer to President Uribe. Also keep an eye on the US (lack of) reposne.

As an aside, check out this interesting piece in the Narco News about possible connections between this terrorist-government network (called the "Bogota Connection") and the downing of a US plane 4 years ago (3 US "contractors" on a spying mission are still being held)

Scandal in Colombia grows - Five more lawmakers are arrested, accused of having ties to illegal paramilitary groups.
By Chris Kraul, LA Times
February 16, 2007

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA — The scandal involving alleged links between Colombian lawmakers and illegal paramilitary groups widened Thursday with the arrest of five more members of Congress, including a senator who is the brother of Foreign Minister Maria Consuelo Araujo.

The arrests of Sen. Alvaro Araujo and the others could further tarnish President Alvaro Uribe, who since being reelected to a second term in a landslide last year has been rocked by allegations that some close legislative supporters have ties to the right-wing armies. The arrests are also bound to increase calls that Maria Araujo resign.
The orders were issued by the Supreme Court, which handles criminal investigations involving members of Congress. All those arrested are staunch Uribe supporters.
Further complicating Foreign Minister Araujo's situation was the revelation Thursday that her cousin, Gov. Hernando Molina of the northern province of Cesar, is also under investigation in connection with alleged dealings with the paramilitaries, including illegal campaign financing.

When Sen. Araujo acknowledged in November that he was the subject of an inquiry, Uribe rebuffed calls that he fire his minister to eliminate a possible taint.

In November, four other sitting or former Congress members were arrested and charged with criminal involvement with paramilitary groups, including authorizing mass murder and government corruption.

Some of those arrested are among lawmakers alleged to have signed a document in 2001 pledging support to paramilitary groups to "remake the nation."
Uribe has been hurt by revelations that some paramilitary leaders have continued to run their criminal empires from jail since demobilizing and pleading guilty in exchange for lighter sentences. Investigations in some cases have confirmed that politicians at the local and national levels who support Uribe were complicit in militia crimes.



Blogger jsb said...

Cuba expels journalist:

I'm sure you approve.

10:36 AM  
Blogger leftside said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:32 PM  
Blogger leftside said...

Staying on topic for a minute, it appears a chip even closer to President Uribe has fallen - his ex Intelligence Chief has been charged with murder.

As for Gary Marx (the Trib's man in Havana), he has been there for 5 years with his family and was going to leave in June. As it is, he will have to leave in May (though Marx says the Cubans pledged to beflexible). The Cuban govt. knew this and that tells me this was not about Marx. This was about sending a signal that they were serious about the new foreign reporter regulations issued a few weeks ago. This was about the moment when hundreds of international journos flood the island with tourist visas. The regulations say involvement in psuedo-politics and practicing biased and unethical journalism are grounds for non renewal of licenses. I think you could make that argument for some of his pieces but overall Marx is a curious and pretty decent writer.

10:32 PM  

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