SEMANA, August 16, 2021
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)
Ex-President Álvaro Uribe and the President of the Truth Commission, Fr. Francisco de Roux, along with other Commissioners, spent several hours of dialog at the former Chief Executive’s ranch, in a meeting in which they discussed all kinds of subjects related to the armed conflict experienced in this country, and Uribe’s efforts to combat it.
The Commissioners questioned some of the episodes that took place during the administration of the ex-President; however, Uribe complained about the tone in which he was questioned, as he says, because he felt they were trying to make him responsible for them.
One of the subjects that caused him the most annoyance, and sometimes friction between the two, was the matter of the false positives. The ex-President has explained that there was a whole procedure for investigating what went on, and measures were taken throughout his administration. “How can you tell me that that was not a very important decision? It seems to me that His Reverence is biased,” insisted ex-President Uribe.
“I can’t accept that from you, Father,” protested Uribe to the President of the Truth Commission, referring to the date on which actions were taken against the false positives. While de Roux was saying that it was in 2008, the former Head of State maintained that he had been working on it long before that.
Once even, voices were raised so much that Tomás Uribe, the ex-President’s son, commented. He also complained to one of the Commissioners, Lucía Gonzáles, about the way that Santos was treated when he appeared before the Commission, in comparison with the tone of the questioning of Uribe. “They treated him like a king,” the ex-President’s son complained to the Commissioners.
“No, Lucía, you are very biased and I am going to respond to the priest,” said Uribe to the Commissioners, with whom the ex-President had expressed strong differences from the beginning of the conversation. “Nor do I want to be accused publicly,” requested the Commissioner. The ex-President complained to González that she was asking questions in an accusing tone.
“It’s never the fault of the person who demands results.” Álvaro Uribe on “false positives”.
Uribe maintained that one of the accusations that had been made historically with respect to the false positives is that it was because he “demanded results”. He admitted that he had always been a person characterized by wanting accomplishment and that had led to progress in this country, but he had always acted ethically and with transparency. “Some incompetents have been saying that producing results means producing crimes,” complained Uribe.
The ex-President stated that it was actually the stigmatization and accusations that had led to the murder of innocent people in the country. “Part of those attacks against me have been: ‘Uribe has to be killed because he is a paramilitary.’ I have experienced that at first hand. In this country many people have been killed because they have been stigmatized as guerrillas, and others because they have been stigmatized as paramilitaries. We were saying that this morning,” commented Uribe.
Earlier, the conversation had already generated some differences and raised voices between the ex-President and the Commissioners that were talking with him. Uribe blamed them for the way they were framing their questions, because he felt they were indicting him.
“I hear them more as making an effort to indict me, and not trying to listen to me,” Álvaro Uribe to Fr. Francisco de Roux.
“At times, and it pains me to tell you this, I hear them more as making an effort to indict me, and not trying to talk and clarify. That worries me a lot. I have carried something very serious, something I have suffered. I dealt with it for an hour and 50 minutes more or less,” the ex-President commented. “I have been the victim of despicable bullying,” Uribe added, protesting that at times he had felt that the language they were using to interrogate him seemed to be trying to hold him responsible. “They are blaming me,” he said.
Uribe has admitted that he has personal respect for Fr. de Roux, but he does not consider that the Truth Commission, and the institutions created in the Havana Peace Agreement, are legitimate. This conversation is not an official Commission hearing, but the ex-President accepted it in order to clarify several of the challenges related to his administration.