Sunday, February 25, 2007

Colombia Scandal

This is not really news if you're in Colombia, but it has finally dribbled out into the US press.
The widening probe linking dozens of political allies of Colombia's president, Álvaro Uribe, to the country's right-wing death squads and drug traffickers has started to erode support on Capitol Hill for Colombia, the biggest recipient of US aid outside the Middle East and Afghanistan...

"Who have we staked all of our political capital on in Latin America? Uribe," said Adam Isacson of the Center for International Policy, a think tank in Washington. "If this scandal engulfs him or his armed forces, it will be a devastating blow to the whole design of US policy."

The "para-political" scandal burst open last fall, when a computer seized from paramilitary leader "Jorge 40" revealed the names of dozens of politicians who supposedly collaborated with paramilitaries in intimidating voters, seizing land, and kidnapping or killing labor unionists and political rivals. Other revelations followed, including secret documents signed by officials pledging moral support or kickbacks to the illegal militias.

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