Merida, May 7th 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe said that he will take Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro to the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR), following accusations by the Venezuelan head that Uribe was involved in plots against him.
On Friday, Maduro accused Uribe, along with Roger Noriega and Otto Reich, ex members of the US State Department, of being behind a plan to depose and assassinate him. He said that he had “sufficient proof” and as a consequence, had increased his personal security.
Maduro alleged that there are “sectors of the Venezuelan right” working with Uribe, and predicted that the private media would “trivialise” his denunciation.
Uribe has openly worked with Venezuela’s rightwing, meeting with them in July 2012, in the lead-up to the October presidential elections, to denounce “atrocities and abuses by the Chavista dictatorship against democracy”. He publically supported Henrique Capriles’ candidature. A month later, he also stated to press that he had “lacked the time” as president for a military intervention into Venezuela.
On the weekend Maduro also insinuated that Uribe and his “paramilitaries and hired-killer groups” could be behind the rightwing, which also “could be” behind the shooting of a private media sports journalist, Johny Gonzalez, in Caracas recently.
Uribe argued that Maduro’s accusation put his life at risk. He said he also wanted a libel investigation held in Colombia, and would request it of Colombia’s Attorney General’s office if Maduro enters the country.
Uribe called Maduro’s accusations “immature” and his lawyer, Jaime Granados Pena, said that he would appeal to the IACHR to ask for precautionary measures in favour of Uribe every time “Maduro’s actions put [Uribe’s] life and bodily integrity at risk”.
Venezuela withdrew from the IACHR, an affiliate body of the Organisation of American States (OAS) last year, after former president Hugo Chavez accused it of “political manipulation”. The year before the Venezuelan Supreme Court also refused to enforce a IACHR ruling to override a decision by Venezuela’s comptroller barring opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez from holding public positions until 2014 after he was found guilty of corruption.
Further, Granados called Maduro’s accusations the acts of a “desperate person who holds power illegitimately…to divert attention away from the corruption and illegality sponsored by the dictatorship he runs”.
Maduro responded to the statements yesterday, saying, “That’s what these mafia are like, they order someone to be killed and then they come out and denounce that someone wants to do something to them to shut them up”.
Uribe, president of Colombia from 2002 to 2010, has himself been accused of a number of human rights crimes. Earlier this year Colombia’s chief prosecutor’s office opened a preliminary criminal investigation into Uribe over allegations he sponsored a far-right “killer” militia as a regional governor in the 1990s.
According to the Washington Post, members of Uribe’s congress collaborated with rightwing death squads to fix elections and assassinate opponents. Colombia Reports reported in 2008 that half of Colombia’s senate were suspected of being involved with paramilitary forces, and the next year also reported that 40,000 government officials, including mayors and governors, were under investigation for corruption.
In late 2009, a mass grave was discovered in the village of La Macarena containing around 2000 victims of the Colombian military, killed between 2005 and 2009. The Permanent Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Colombia said on 26 January that the La Macarena site was one of thousands of mass graves in Colombia, where 25,000 people had officially disappeared by 2010.
Meanwhile, Colombia’s current president, Juan Manuel Santos, said yesterday that his government would defend the “dignity” of Uribe via “diplomatic channels”.