While Tuesday’s debate on paramilitarism in Antioquia was broadcasted on a national public network on the afternoon, Thursday’s press conference was held on primetime on every national networks, with TV, radio and agencies like EFE, AP and AFP journalists and correspondents chosen by invitation (excluding print press, maybe punishing El Tiempo for its “centred” editorial on the issue, which is “infamous” according to Pablo Escobar’s cousin and presidential adviser José Obdulio Gaviria) and the news that U. S. former vicepresident Al Gore had cancelled its participation at an enviromental forum in Miami the next day for the “‘deeply troubling” allegations by opposition congresspeople. This is bad news, but for him, not for the country, specially after Democrat senator Patrick Leahy “re-freezed” US$55 million for Plan Colombia earlier this week. The same night, earlier, during another press conference with Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, Uribe angrily said “I’m worried because the political friends of the guerrilla, who pose here as political enemies of the ‘yankee imperialism’ go often to the U. S. to discredit Colombian government”. I “covered” the press conference “live” for digital magazine equinoXio.
Uribe’s fanatical supporters claim that Uribe “swept” Congressman Gustavo Petro’s allegations, specially because he was fast at denying his links with paramilitaries, but I think he actually evaded some of the important questions and treated quite disdainfully La W Radio‘s Félix de Bedout and Caracol Radio‘s Néstor Morales, by calling them “doctors”. He maybe hit well back on the allegations against his family, but some serious things came up. Remember the picture of Uribe’s brother Santiago with the drug-dealing clan Ochoa? Well, Uribe said he was taken a picture with Justo Pastor Perafán, another drug dealing lord currently in a U. S. prison. When AFP correspondent said he was a friend of friends of paramilitaries (that’s true, as you can see by the currently imprisoned congresspeople), he did not answer clearly.
He did not answered if some judicial investigations could be re-opened, in order to clarify all the suspicions, but he said instead “if I had been a paramilitary man, I’d be a paramilitary with a rifle in the mountains, not a paramilitary financial sponsor, not a paramilitary sponsor behind a desk” (!) Is this coherent with what he said Wednesday morning? “I read a lot Mao [Tse Tung] and [Karl] Marx, and I would have been a good guerrilla man, not a slanderer guerrilla, but with a gun, militarily successful and not a protagonist of slanders”.
And he also revealed something quite disturbing for the opposition: “I have evidence, which I’m not going to disclose here, [they are] from military and police intelligence, about some of the people who have been to U. S., who say: we’ve ruined the [Free Trade] Agreement accusing this S. O. B. of Uribe”. When he was asked by Félix de Bedout if the opposition was being tracked by military intelligence, he said: “Look, ask Andrés Peñate (DAS secret police director, whose predecessor Jorge Noguera is accused of letting the paramilitaries to infiltrate it), here the Government is being made intelligence work. The opposition shows official documents they have no access. No one can say this government has used the militaries, the police or DAS to cut opposition’s right. What happens is that those persons proceed very evidently, they don’t take care of themselves as they think they do and besides they facilitate inferences. The opposition have had warranties here”. Should not this worry everyone in a so-called democratic country? Well, Uribe looks as a good person, so he must be a good person, despite of his friends and his saying, right?
Nevertheless, Uribe is still believed by his supporters, who ask on the internet forums to “let him work for the country” and to shut up that “guerrilla”, referring to senator Petro. Regional press did a poor coverage of Tuesday’s debate, as o-lu denounces, and Adam Isacson analyses the impact of Gore’s slap on the face to Uribe. But, again, we’ve left without answers, because, for one side, the “truth” is more important despite of their own mistakes and the truth they haven’t revealed, and for the other side, it’s more important to shut the hell up the “anti-patriotic” opposition people, who “want to hand over the country to FARC”, which, by the way, have been selling bloody propaganda DVD in Cartagena. And Uribe continued his self-defence in Miami.