Álvaro Uribe reappears after his house arrest and insists on repealing the Colombian peace court | International

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Álvaro Uribe during his statement from his El Ubérrimo farm.STRINGER / Reuters

The former president of Colombia, Álvaro Uribe Vélez, has once again attacked the transitional justice system that emerged from the peace negotiations with the former FARC guerrilla. "We must insist on the repeal of the JEP (Special Jurisdiction for Peace) and on the reform of the Havana agreements, saving respect and support for those reinserted in good faith," said the former senator this Monday in his first statement. after this weekend the justice ordered his release after more than two months of house arrest.

"I have thought a lot about the consequences of the judicial system that we inherited from the previous government," said the former president, who will continue to be investigated in freedom for a case of witness tampering. "That set of regulations linked to the JEP, enshrined total impunity for atrocities such as kidnapping and rape of minors," he pointed out when resuming his banners of fierce opposition to the pact sealed at the end of 2016, an arduously negotiated agreement that allowed the disarmament of some 13,000 members of the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, today turned into a political party with ten seats in Congress.

President Iván Duque, Uribe's political godson, had already proposed in 2019 to modify the JEP, considered the backbone of the agreements, with a series of objections that suffered a thunderous defeat in Congress. The system in charge of trying the most serious crimes committed during the armed conflict establishes alternative sentences to prison for ex-combatants in exchange for confessing their crimes and making reparations to the victims. The attacks on transitional justice have been a banner for the Democratic Center, the government party founded by Uribe, whose most intransigent sectors have insisted on destroying the pact.

Uribe began his statement on video, broadcast on his social networks from his estate in El Ubérrimo, with a mention of his lawyers, the citizens who have expressed their solidarity and those who have "surrounded him with their religious faith." He also thanked the support of other dignitaries, especially former Spanish President José María Aznar and American Donald Trump. The Republican president, who is courting the most conservative Latino vote in his campaign for reelection, reacted on Saturday to the news of his freedom with a series of messages on Twitter in which he called Uribe a "hero" and made references to "Castrochavism ”, A term used by Uribismo to attack the peace agreement.

The ex-president assured that both he and his family "have been subjected to the greatest political and judicial scrutiny in the country" and emphasized that "he will maintain the fight for his honor", as he has insistently affirmed since his house arrest. “They considered my temperament to put me in jail. Of course, my controversial and haughty temperament, with which I have worked for Colombia ”, he declared. In a campaign tone, he addressed thirty points in which he combined his defense in the file that indicates the alleged crimes of bribery and procedural fraud, with various populist political approaches that would be included in a referendum.

"Let us advance in initiatives of social and economic progress that are the alternative to socialist risk, which intends to replicate the failure of Venezuela and Nicaragua and that tends blankets of uncertainty over other countries in the region," he said in one of the messages that has become a leitmotiv since the times when the plebiscite on the agreements polarized Colombian society. "Eye with 22", closed his speech in reference to the year of the next presidential elections.

The case for which Uribe is investigated dates back to 2012, when he filed a complaint against opposition senator Iván Cepeda before the Supreme Court for an alleged plot that, according to his version, involved false witnesses in Colombian prisons to link him to group activities paramilitaries. The process took a sharp turn more than two years ago when the high court acquitted Cepeda and asked instead to investigate Uribe on suspicion that it was he and his lawyers who manipulated witnesses. The original complaint from a paramilitary states that a self-defense bloc was formed in a former property of the Uribe family.

Uribe resigned his Senate seat in August to leave the orbit of the Supreme Court, charged with judging congressmen. Despite the dozen processes he faces in court, it has remained a great electoral phenomenon, even after leaving the presidency. During the two terms of his successor, Juan Manuel Santos (2010-2018), he became the fiercest critic of the peace talks and a permanent protagonist of the discord that has marked Colombian society. Along the way he brought together the most religious and conservative sectors around the Democratic Center. Although he maintained very high levels of popularity during his two terms (2002-2010), his acceptance has collapsed: 53% of those surveyed had an unfavorable image of the former president, compared to 35% favorable, in the most recent measurement of the firm Gallup.

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