A Colombian prosecutor called on the country’s Vice President Francisco Santos to testify about allegations by an ex-paramilitary boss that he had collaborated with the now-demobilized United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). Santos was invited to voluntarily respond to accusations by demobilized warlord Salvatore Mancuso that Santos had known of the planning of a paramilitary group in the Colombian capital of Bogotá. The Prosecutor General’s Office is currently investigating the accusations.
According to Mancuso, he had met with Santos on several occasions from the end of 2006 to the beginning of 2007. At the meetings, Santos he said proposed the forming of an AUC-led Capital Bloc that could control Bogotá. The meetings were held at an AUC camp, a house in the city of Valledupar, and inside the office of El Tiempo newspaper, where Santos at that time was editor-in-chief, Mancuso said.
The paramilitary leader claims paramilitary leaders Freddy Rendón AKA “El Aleman” and Rodrigo Tovar AKA “Jorge 40”, were present at one of the meetings. Jorge 40 recently was reported to have suspended his cooperation with Colombian media following the murder of his brother.
Santos and former employees of El Tiempo claim the meetings took place for journalistic purposes. On the basis of these claims, the Supreme Court has suspended an investigation against Santos. (Colombia Reports, Feb. 8)