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Mancuso says that the paramilitaries supported the presidential campaigns of Uribe and Pastrana

Bogotá, (BLAZETRENDS).- Former paramilitary chief Salvatore Mancuso assured this Monday that the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) supported candidacies of politicians who sought to reach the Colombian Congress in the March 2010 elections and there was also support for the campaigns of the now former presidents Álvaro Uribe and Andrés Pastrana.

This was stated by Mancuso on the third day of a virtual appearance before the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) that took place virtually, since he is in a detention center in the United States.

“In 2002, the Self-Defense Forces intervened directly in the elections to Congress, on March 10, 2002; and also, the May 2002 presidential elections,” Mancuso said when asked by JEP magistrate Pedro Díaz.

Mancuso, who was the last head of the AUC and who now wants this special court that imposes alternative sentences to jail to accept it, also said that “there was help in the elections for presidential candidate Horacio Serpa, at the same time President (Andrés) Pastrana (1998-2002) and (Álvaro) Uribe (2002-2010)”.

Minutes later, former President Pastrana, of the Conservative Party, wrote on social networks that he demanded “the cowardly murderer of Salvatore Mancuso to show even today proof of support or infiltration of money from paramilitary narcoterrorism in my presidential campaign.”

Pastrana also said that if Mancuso does not present these tests, “he loses, here and there, all the benefits that special justice grants him.”

Serpa, who was a 3-time candidate for the Presidency for the Liberal Party, died in October 2020 at the age of 77, after suffering from cancer for several years.

In addition to mentioning the former presidents, he did not give more details at the hearing and asked the JEP that “we can discuss these issues in private.”

For his part, former President Iván Duque assured that what Mancuso has said is retaliation by the government that extradited him to the United States in 2008 after the demobilization of the group he led, the AUC, which is the group that committed the most homicides during the conflict. Colombian, according to the Truth Commission.

Photograph provided by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) of AUC victims during the appearance of former paramilitary chief Salvatore Mancuso in Montería (Colombia). BLAZETRENDS/JEP

“The so-called ‘truth’ of Mancuso is a revenge against the Government that subjected him to Justice and extradited him to the United States. Of course, what he seeks is to avoid his crimes in Colombia before Justice and Peace (the law that regulated the demobilization of the AUC) and that they include him in the JEP so as not to pay jail time,” Duque wrote on Twitter.

What Mancuso has said

In the other days of contribution to the truth, Mancuso said that the AUC dumped the bodies of some 200 of its victims on the Venezuelan side of the border, after the destruction of the “crematory oven” in which hundreds of people disappeared.

Likewise, he assured that Francisco Santos, former vice president of Colombia and cousin of former president Juan Manuel Santos, asked him to create a paramilitary bloc in Bogotá.

However, former Vice President Santos dismissed Mancuso’s statements as “a lie” and recalled that “for more than 18 years this lie has been investigated over and over again by countless judicial instances without there being a single proof of its veracity and cannot be to have it because it never happened”.

Mancuso’s appearance, the “last opportunity” given by the JEP, takes place in Montería, capital of the department of Córdoba (north), and the former paramilitary chief must “exceed the threshold of truth reached in 18 years of investigations (of the Law) of Justice and Peace, and in ordinary justice”, according to the JEP.

This special court created by the peace agreement with the FARC only judges crimes against humanity committed by the guerrillas and the public forces, but it can include civilian third parties, as in this case, if they are related to the previous ones.

The entry Mancuso says that the paramilitaries supported the presidential campaigns of Uribe and Pastrana was published first in BLAZETRENDS Noticias.

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