“It seemed impossible that Alvaro Uribe He could be challenged by justice, and even put under house arrest. However, it has happened “, the senator tells EL PERIÓDICO Ivan cepeda, in telephone conversation. At 57, he sees the arrest of the former president in the context of a scandal related to the bribery and witness tampering as the sign of a change of era. Cepeda has been the promoter of the complaints against him by presenting the testimony of a far-right ex-paramilitary, who revealed how the activities of these armed groups were designed in a property owned by Uribe’s family. Cepeda himself has been a victim of paramilitarism. His father was shot down decades ago. With a degree in Philosophy, a human rights activist and a reference for the Polo Democrático (center-left), the senator is convinced that there are reasons to trust that the man who governed Colombia between 2002 and 2010 he will not be able to evade his criminal responsibilities.
-In the next few days, the Supreme Court will have to decide whether Uribe recovers his freedom while the case advances. What do you think will happen?
-We believe that there are solid arguments, now supported by two former prosecutors, so that this does not happen, although I admit that there are many pressures. There has been a relentless campaign against judges, journalists and especially against those of us who intervened in this case.
-Uribe has been a dominant figure and the factor in the electoral victory of Juan Manuel Santos and Iván Duque. Has the perception of Colombians about their political role changed?
-Many have gone from the cult of the personality of the untouchable caudillo to questioning it. Not only because of this specific case of bribery, but because of his past and the drive for paramilitarism when he served as governor of Antioquia.
– Were you surprised by the house arrest warrant?
-It must be taken into account that for more than two decades a revolution in the matter of justice in relation to crimes against humanity has taken place in Colombia. A system has been created to examine the responsibility of the paramilitaries. There were also 70 congressmen imprisoned for the so-called “parapolitics.” On the other hand, there is the Special Justice of Peace (JEP) which, although it does not examine everything related to the conflict, has provoked a great public debate and a change in perception of Uribe.
“Colombia is the largest militarized state on the planet (…) The police are trained for war”
– Does this affect the current president?
-Uribe’s falling popularity is connected to Duque’s. Their declines influence each other. Duque in turn decided to act as one more Uribe lawyer instead of guaranteeing the independence of the Judicial Power.
-Another subject of strong debate in your country is that of state violence from the latest actions of the Bogota police, which caused the death of 11 people.
-We live in the largest militaristic state on the planet although it claims to be democratic. Policemen are trained for war. They do not conceive of social protest as a right. Therefore, the protesters are legitimate targets. That, in turn, is connected to the murders of social leaders in rural areas. In those territories the same principle applies that the only solution to the problems of drug trafficking or corruption is to let violence prevail. It is not that the police or the Army necessarily commit murders. But their presences generate a negative spiral. The only solution to this problem is the application of the peace agreement (signed with the FARC), which contemplates a comprehensive rural reform. But Duque doesn’t want to. The results are visible.