August 16, 2020

Dear Vice President Pence:

I write in response to your request that former President and current Senator Alvaro Uribe Velez be released from the house arrest in Colombia to which he was ordered by the Colombian Supreme Court. Your request is astonishing and inappropriate in many respects.

First of all, your attempt to insert yourself in the determinations of the Colombian judicial system is entirely inappropriate. The Colombian courts are proceeding in accord with established norms in placing Mr. Uribe under house arrest. He has not yet been tried for the crimes he has been charged with, and your attempt at inserting yourself in the judicial process in his case is not only improper, but at least very premature. Furthermore, the Monroe Doctrine’s supposition that the United States had the right to control what countries in its “backyard” do is no longer acceptable. Your criticism of procedural determinations of Colombia’s Supreme Court is totally out of line.

More embarrassing is your defense of Alvaro Uribe Velez. Mr. Uribe in the early years of his career provided services to Pablo Escobar. This is a matter of public knowledge which was confirmed to me by a person acquainted with Escobar’s activities. The Drug Enforcement Agency of the United States Government placed Alvaro Uribe’s name as number 82 on a list of persons involved in the drug trade. Did you know that? He is reliably reported to have assisted in opening landing strips for Escobar’s drug-trafficking flights when Uribe was the head of the Civil Aeronautics office. Are these associations of no importance to you?

As Governor of Antioquia province Uribe supported the growth of paramilitary organizations, under the title of “convivires”, who murdered tens of thousands of rural residents, and combined in many cases with drug-traffickers to advance the sale of coca to the United States. Does your silence about this activity of Uribe signal your agreement with what he did?

In his years as President of Colombia, from 2002-2010, Uribe continued to support illegal activities by paramilitary forces and to support willingly their contributions to his presidential campaigns.

Mr. Uribe is now charged with arranging to pay persons to provide false information about actions of Colombian Senator Ivan Cepeda, who interviewed persons in prison concerning improper actions of Mr. Uribe. With your defense of Alvaro Uribe do you mean to indicate that paying witnesses to give false testimony in Court proceedings is acceptable behavior?

You call Mr. Uribe a “hero” and note that he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush. In fact, this action by President Bush is a travesty on what is good and just in this country. The organization of which I am a part, the Colombia Support Network, has decried this infamous action by President Bush from the day it was done.

I call upon you in the name of truth and justice, to retract your request for special treatment for Alvaro Uribe, whose name stains the pages of truth and justice in Colombia.


Jack Laun

Co-Founder and Program Director

Colombia Support Network

Madison, Wisconsin

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