06 May 2009

¿Reelección? “Otra pregunta, amigo” Uribe and his re-election. "Next question, friend" further skulkduggery in Colombia

Re-election? "Next question, friend."

Uribe refused to be drawn during a BBC interview on whether he would present himself for re-election. And its not surprising as the project to change the constitution yet again is yet gain embroiled in controversy.

For those who haven't been following Colombia, in April 2008 Yidis Medina a former congresswoman from the pro-government Colombian Conservative Party, claimed that members of President Uribe's administration had offered her to appoint local officials in her home province, in exchange for voting in favor of the 2004 reelection bill. She declared before the Colombian Supreme Court who did indeed find that she had sold her vote. As a result of that decision there is still a legal tussle going on as whether Uribe's first re-election should be declared illegal as a result.

It now appears that the promoter of the re-election referendum on behalf of Uribe, Luis Guillermo Giraldo, is also involved in dodgy business. Indeed it is highly probable that the 5 million signatures necessary to initiate the re-election debates in the Colombian Congress were bought and paid for, with the 1.900 million pesos raised for the process. Indeed Radio Caracol at the time reported that the going rate for a signature was 170,000 pesos.

It also appears that the DMG company and its main shareholder, David Murcia Guzman, were where some of the money originated, and there is suspicion that some of it also came from Primero Colombia, Uribe's own party. Murcia Guzman was indicted by the US in March this year on money laundering charges, and by the Colombian authorities last November and authorities suspect it was also a massive machine to launder profits from drug trafficking. Murcia Guzmán was captured in Panama and sumarily handed over to Colombian authorities after a phone call from Uribe to Torrijos, in spite of Colombia having officially requested his extradition.

To be continued...

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