Colombian Senator Juan Fernando Cristo answers President Uribe

(Translated by John I. Laun, a CSN volunteer translator)

Senator Juan Fernando Cristo’s Statement for the Record Regarding Declarations of President Uribe

August 27, 2008

This is not the first time I have been a victim of persecution and the aggressions of President of the Republic Alvaro Uribe Velez. During all these years of disagreement with the National Government I have always maintained and will in the future maintain respect for the person of the president and his office.

Unfortunately he does not respect the persons who question his actions, for the purpose of eluding the answer which we Colombians deserve to one single question which we have today: Why did delinquents enter into the “House of Nari” (the Presidential Palace, Casa de Narino, named “Nari” by paramilitary murderer “Job” in a telephone conversation recorded after he left from a visit to the Presidential Palace) as if it were their home?

The intolerance of Uribe and his authoritarianism are dangerous for the nation’s institutions. Today I have more reasons to repeat what I said two years ago in the face of an equally imprudent accusation of the head of state: “The President inspires fear in me.”

I have never delivered one single peso to anyone’s campaign and that is what the justice system determined forcefully at the time. My first reaction to this knavery, which is not unusual in Uribe, was to file a complaint against him in court for insult and slander. But then I immediately remembered that the present president is protected for all his crimes in Colombia and enjoys complete impunity given the makeup of the Commission of Investigations and Accusations of the Chamber of Representatives. For that reason, from this day forward I identify as the only person responsible for any physical or moral harm which may befall me or my family Mr. Alvaro Uribe Velez, and I request that hearings be held in the Congress of the United States, the World Inter-parliamentary Union, the Human Rights Commission of the OAS, the European Parliament, the Socialist International, the Latin American Parliament, the Andean Parliament, and non-governmental organizations in the United States and Europe to denounce internationally the form in which President Uribe, who tries to show himself to be a democrat on the international stage, acts here in Colombia like a President who pursues and assails ferociously Magistrates, Judges, journalists and the leaders of the opposition who do not share his totalitarian and antidemocratic obsession with perpetuating himself in power come what may.

President, explain your conduct and do not raise smokescreens to hide the shameful episodes of these days which are repugnant to decent Colombians. And hopefully you will not continue to invite delinquents to the Casa de Nari (Presidential Palace) on the condition that they bring information against magistrates, journalists of Members of Congress who question your government.

Mr. President: your slanderous statements will not quiet my voice.

Juan Fernando Cristo B.
of the Republic
the Liberal Party)

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