Colombia: Piedad Córdoba Leaves Country Due To Threats
August 19, 2011 By Roque Planas
Former Colombian Senator Piedad Córdoba said Wednesday night she would leave Colombia, after experiencing an increase in death threats and other forms of intimidation.
“She told us that she would leave the country because the threats have intensified and an attack on her life was imminent,” Representative Iván Cepeda of the Polo Democrático Alternative, a leftwing party, told Caracol Radio.
Córdoba said her absence would not be permanent.
The controversial politician came under fire last week, after she signed an open letter to the FARC guerrillas, which referred to hostages as “prisoners.” The letter, which was also signed by Guatemalan Nobel laureate Rigoberta Menchú and U.S. author Alice Williams, prompted immediate criticism from the government.
“I can’t accept that she uses the word ‘prisoners’ to describe soldiers and policemen who were taken hostage by the FARC and now live in concentration camps,” said Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera Salazar.
Córdoba and her group, Colombians for Peace, have pushed for a negotiated settlement to the insurgency that has plagued Colombia for decades. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her work in 2009 — U.S. President Obama beat her in that contest — but she also ran afoul of authorities, who accuse her of supporting the FARC.
The Attorney General’s office dismissed the Liberal Party senator from her seat last year and prohibited her from holding office for 18 years, after accusing her of maintaining unlawful ties with FARC guerrillas. A trial was not necessary to enforce her removal.
Córdoba contested the decision, but the process will not take less than two years, according to the head of the State Council, Luis Fernando Álvarez.
During her career, Córdoba has participated in the negotiations with the FARC that led to the release of 12 hostages.
Córdoba’s daughter Natalia María left the country weeks ago, due to concerns over her safety.
Image: Fakunadicoechea @ Flickr.