Friday, June 15, 2007

More Evidence of Uribe's Links to Paramilitaries?

The scandal rumbles on. From the Miami Herald:

A lawyer for a U.S. labor union has asked the State Department to investigate the infiltration by Colombia's illegal paramilitaries into President Alvaro Uribe's first electoral campaign, based on a video showing then-candidate Uribe meeting with a group that included a man identified as a paramilitary leader.

The video, a copy of which was obtained by El Nuevo Herald, does not indicate that Uribe was aware one of the men at the meeting was a paramilitary leader. It appears to be a campaign event, and the dozen or so other participants identify themselves as civic leaders from the city of Barrancabermeja.

From the images and the date that appears on the video, the meeting was held Oct. 31, 2001, during a campaign stop by Uribe in Puerto Berrío, near Barrancabermeja.

The paramilitary man at the meeting was identified by human-rights activists from Barrancabermeja as Frenio Sánchez Carreño, second in command of a unit of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC, the paramilitaries' umbrella group. The man identified as Sánchez does not speak on the video.

Sánchez was arrested less than two months after the meeting in an operation announced at a news conference by Colombia's version of the FBI, the Administrative Security Directorate. Then-agency Director Germán Jaramillo said Sánchez, also known as Comandante Esteban, was wanted on charges his unit had murdered some 80 people in the previous two years.

Time to call an end to the corrupt regime that governs Colombia, the links with various paramilitary leaders is becoming all too apparent. However, it is not only elected officials that are tainted by links to terrorists, big business also stands accused of links to terrorism:

Relatives of 22 Colombians killed by militants in their country's banana-growing region claim in a lawsuit that Chiquita Brands International and Chiquita Fresh North America financed terrorist groups that killed innocent civilians.

Attorneys for the relatives filed the lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale. They claim Chiquita's payments to guerrilla groups between 1997 and 2004 helped fuel the region's volatile guerrilla warfare and led to the 22 deaths. The victims are mostly banana workers and include an 8-year-old child. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

So, when is the 'war on terror' due to hit Colombia, the worlds leading terrorist state?