National Police chief forced out in “Colombian Watergate”

Colombian National Police chief Gen. Jorge Daniel Castro and his intelligence boss Gen. Guillermo Chaves were forced to retire May 14 following cliams that police illegally tapped calls of opposition political figures, journalists and members of the government. “The procedure is totally unacceptable, illegal and contrary to the policy of the government,” President Alvaro Uribe‘s office said in a statement. The scandal broke over the weekend when newsweekly Semana reported the interception of phone conversations revealing that imprisoned paramilitary leaders continue to operate their networks from behind bars. The scandal is being dubbed the “Colombian Watergate.” Castro’s replacement was named as Oscar Naranjo, director of the police investigative agency DIJIN. Also May 14, the Supreme Court ordered the arrest of 20 politicians and business leaders, including four senators and one lower house representative, on criminal conspiracy charges for signing the 2001 “Rialto Pact” with paramilitary leaders. (El Espectador, Radio Caracol, AP, May 14)

See our last posts on Colombia and the paramilitary scandal.