Sunday, February 18, 2007

Terrorists Infiltrate Colombian Government

Once more, the Colombian government are up to their necks in scandal. The latest revelations include the arrest of Senator Alvaro Araujo, the brother of Colombia's Foreign Minister. Araujo has been arrested on suspicion of ties to paramilitary groups in Colombia. The so-called para-political scandal has been the worst scandal to hit Colombia for many years and it shows how far the paramilitary groups have infiltrated positions of responsibility in Colombia.

Araujo was first accused by Gustavo Petro, a candidate for the senate, for having ties with paramilitary groups back in January 2006. Petro accused him of being part of an organisation run by the leader known as Jorge 40. He has also been formally accused of the kidnapping and extortion of the former Mayor of Valledupar. His latest arrest comes on the back of an investigation following the capture of Jorge 40's laptop. This laptop contained details on over 550 murders and led to the current Para-political scandal which is engulfing the corrupt Uribe regime.

Although the investigation hasn't implicated his sister in the affair, it is difficult to see how any country could seriously deal with a Foreign Minister whose family is embroiled in such a major scandal. Part of María Consuelo Araújo's remit is to ensure that the US government continues to bankroll Uribe to the tune of $700 million and, with a weakened Republican Congress, there is hope that the Democrats might turn the screw on Uribe's government. As long as the paramilitaries wield such influence of Uribe's regime, financial support should be withheld. After all, isn't Bush fighting a 'War on Terror'? It would certainly seem that way from the rhetoric in the media. If he is tough on terrorism, why is his administration prepared to finance a government that has been infiltrated by terrorists? Why is he prepared to overlook the many accusations of human rights abuses in the region? Is it because his administration sees Uribe as a buffer from the growing tide of people power in the region? Is the Uribe government the acceptable face of terrorism? It would certainly appear so.

The continued human rights abuses of the Colombian government must be addressed. Too many people have suffered in the region at the hands of the people in power. Too many people have been murdered by a vicious, corrupt regime. Too many people live in fear of their lives. too many people fear the very people that are supposed to represent them. Too many people live in a state that appeases sympathetic terrorists. It is about time that the Colombian government were punished, instead of rewarded with fat cheques.