Cousin of Colombian President Uribe Arrested For Alleged Ties With Paramilitaries

Graffiti on the wall of a Colombian school in support of the AUC, a paramilitary group.
Graffiti on the wall of a Colombian school in support of the AUC, a paramilitary group.
Graffiti on the wall of a Colombian school in support of the AUC, a paramilitary group.
Graffiti on the wall of a Colombian school in support of the AUC, a paramilitary group.

Today in Latin America

Top Story — A former Colombian senator and second cousin of President Álvaro Uribe, Mario Uribe, was arrested on Wednesday on charges that he had links to the paramilitary group, the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC).

Colombian authorities arrested him in the city of Medellin and plan to transfer him to the capital, Bogota.

The arrest relates to charges that Mario Uribe conspired with the AUC in the 1990s to gain control of land in northeastern Colombia. Jairo Castillo, alias “Pitirri,” says he saw a meeting in which Mario Uribe negotiated with paramilitaries for the land. Mario Uribe denies the allegations.

Mario Uribe was previously arrested in 2008 on similar charges but released due to insufficient evidence.

President Uribe said that his administration needs to make more progress toward uncovering ties between the government and FARC guerillas, but did not comment on the arrest of Mario Uribe.

“The policy of democratic security makes justice possible,” Uribe said Wednesday, according to Business Week. “It pains me that we still haven’t made progress on the FARC’s involvement in politics.”

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • Hooded gunmen killed 13 people in the Oaxaca state of Mexico including a ranch owner and his three sons. The murders happened only days after 19 people died in the Tamaulipas state due to clashes between the police and suspected drug groups.
  • The U.S. Department of State added the Mexican states of Durango and Coahuila to its list of places that U.S. travelers should avoid, due to the escalation of violence in these states.
  • The Mexican national soccer team beat Bolivia 5-0 in an international friendly played at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park.

Caribbean

Central America

  • Former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya in a statement released Thursday called the corruption charges brought against him in Honduras political persecution.

Andes

  • The Colombian Constitutional court is expected to rule today on the legality of a referendum to allow current President Álvaro Uribe to run for a third consecutive term.
  • Seven people died after a plane crashed Thursday near the Nazca Lines in southern Peru.

Southern Cone

  • Dispute over Falklands highlights tensions over business climate in Argentina.
  • Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva arrived in Haiti for a state visit, where he will announce an aid package.

Image: Cameron and Katie @ Flickr.

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