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AUC supported Uribe’s election: Mancuso

posted by Kirsten Begg
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Colombia news - Salvatore Mancuso

Extradited paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso said in an interview with Cambio
that demobilized paramilitary organization AUC had supported the
election of President Alvaro Uribe in 2002.

Mancuso told the weekly that “the majority of us supported Uribe. We received instructions from the commanders to do so.”

“Uribe’s ideological discourse was similar to ours but within the law, so we supported it immediately,” he said.

“We asked the people whether they had heard of Uribe and what he was committed to. They told us yes and then we told them that we would support him and ‘direct’ the people to vote for him.” 

However Mancuso denied that there was a “direct arrangement” with Uribe’s presidential election campaign.

The former paramilitary leader said that there are still many Congressmen who were involved in ‘parapolitics’, the use of intimidation by the paramilitary to force the people to vote for certain politicians, that had not been named.

Mancuso had said previously that he was willing to name those politicians who had benefited from ties to the AUC.

“When they extradited me, they extradited the truth,” he stated, adding that telling the truth has stigmatized him and brought him social rejection.

Mancuso was one of 12 paramilitary leaders extradited to the U.S. in May 2008. He led the demobilization of the AUC in 2006 and 2007. His organization is
suspected of tens of thousands of crimes against humanity, including
thousands of murders, rape and forced displacement. He is currently on trial in the U.S. for drug related crimes.

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