The Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, called on Friday for the release of former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe (2002-2010), under house arrest since last week, whom he described as a “hero.”
“We respect Colombian institutions and their independence, but with former President Álvaro Uribe under house arrest, we join all the freedom-loving voices around the world to ask Colombian officials to allow this Hero, who has received the Medal Presidential Freedom of the United States, defend yourself as a free man, ”said Pence.
The vice president made this statement on Twitter after speaking with Colombian President Iván Duque, a member of the same party as Uribe, the right-wing Democratic Center.
“Today I spoke with our great ally, President Iván Duque of Colombia. The president, Donald Trump, and I appreciate our alliance for freedom in the hemisphere and our joint efforts to combat drug trafficking, “said Pence.
On August 4, the Supreme Court of Justice of Colombia ordered Uribe’s house arrest for alleged procedural fraud and bribery of witnesses.
This Wednesday, Uribe himself reported that he was reported as prisoner number 1,087,985 and insisted that it was actually the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) who “bought” witnesses against him.
The case that has the former president in house arrest began in 2012 when he sued leftist senator Iván Cepeda for alleged manipulation of witnesses, who was preparing a complaint in Congress against him for links to paramilitarism.
But the process took an unexpected turn when the Supreme Court of Justice closed the case, while opening an investigation against the ex-president for manipulation of witnesses against Cepeda.
Uribe, who ruled Colombia between 2002 and 2010, received in 2009 the US Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded by then US President George W. Bush.
His figure is very controversial in Colombia, since under his government numerous human rights violations were committed, such as the extrajudicial execution of thousands of young people and peasants whom the Armed Forces made to pass as guerrillas killed in combat.
Colombia has been for decades the main ally of the United States in Latin America, an association that today prevails with Trump and Duque in common attempts to overthrow the government of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela.