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Santos and Uribe trade barbs over former security chief

posted by Narayan Buckley
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Santoyo

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos claimed Monday that his predecessor Alvaro Uribe personally recommended his now-jailed former security chief for the position of director for two key police units.

Uribe “proposed to [National Police director,] General [Oscar] Naranjo that General [Mauricio] Santoyo became director of [anti-kidnapping unit] Gaula or of  [Police intelligence unit] Dipol. General Naranjo told me: ‘how about that? I disagree.’ I told him me neither and we both said no,” Santos told Caracol Radio.

Santoyo had allegedly been recommended for promotion to the Director of the GAULA, an elite police department dedicated to fighting kidnapping and extortion, or to DIPOL, the Directorate of Police Intelligence. After assuming the presidency in 2002, Uribe appointed his aide as head of security in the presidential palace.

The comments elicited a venomous response via twitter from former president Uribe.

“President Santos is a crook, I never had disagreements in appointments with him as minister, or with Naranjo as director of the police,” responded Uribe. “If President Santos knew that Santoyo was crooked why did he make him a candidate for promotion to general, and never propose his removal or denounce him,” continued the former president.

Late last year, Santoyo was sentenced to 13 years in a United States prison on drug trafficking charges and for aiding and abetting Colombian paramilitaries.  He was Uribe’s chief of security from 2002 until 2005.

These latest accusations from Santos have added to Uribe’s growing list of problems, as Colombia’s Prosecutor General recently announced the reopening of a case against the former president for his own alleged links to paramilitaries.

About the author

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Narayan Buckley studied politics and international relations at Adelaide University, Australia. He has been working for Colombia Reports since December 2012.

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