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Declassified U.S. State Dept. cables reveal ties between former Colombian Pres. Alvaro Uribe and drug cartels

May 28, 2018  |  Posted by: Michael Falzarano
Declassified U.S. State Dept. cables reveal ties between former Colombian Pres. Alvaro Uribe and drug cartels

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Newly declassified U.S. State Department cables reveal how U.S. officials were repeatedly warned of purported ties between Alvaro Uribe, the former president of Colombia and the nation’s most powerful drug cartel.

The communications, which were released Friday by the non-profit National Security Archive, detailed the links between Alvaro Uribe, who at the time was Colombia’s most powerful politician, and was achieving his ascendancy to the presidency more than two decades ago, and the Medellin drug cartel led by Pablo Escobar.

The revelations surface as Uribe’s handpicked candidate, conservative Ivan Duque, is favored to win a run-off election after failing to garner 50% of the vote during Sunday’s presidential election.

The cables detail high-level meetings between U.S. officials and top officers in Uribe’s Liberal party between 1992 and 1995.

In one communication dated 1993, former Senator and Uribe political ally Luis Velez told a U.S. Embassy official that Uribe was a cousin of the Ochoa crime family, according to ABC News.

Recently declassified cables reveal links between former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe to Fabio Ochoa, his brother (center), Juan David Ochoa (right), and Pablo Escobar, the heads of the Medellin Cartel

Brothers Fabio and Juan David Ochoa were partners of Escobar in the Medellin Cartel.

Velez also claimed the Ochoas financed Uribe’s political campaigns.

Additionally, Valez revealed how Pablo Escobar, who was then the world’s most wanted fugitive, wanted to use those purported ties to demand a meeting with Uribe’s wife in an attempt to facilitate the drug lord’s peaceful surrender.

“Escobar, through the Ochoas, is now demanding Uribe return the favors by trying to open a communications channel to Gaviria,” referring to then-President Cesar Gaviria, a U.S. embassy political wrote in the confidential cable.

During his presidency from 2002-2010, Uribe was a steadfast ally of the U.S. war on drugs who extradited a record number of suspected drug traffickers to the U.S. and greatly expanded the U.S. program to aerial spray illegal coca crops using chemical herbicide.

However, throughout his political career, Uribe has been constrained by alleged links to drug cartels and paramilitaries.

In the early 1980’s, authorities accused the civil aviation agency, then headed by Uribe, of providing air licenses to drug traffickers.

In response to the recent revelations, Uribe released a video on social media, which he dismissed the allegations as “fake news, in electoral periods and without proof.”

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