A senator from Colombia’s southwestern state of Nariño demanded that Colombian ex-president Alvaro Uribe retract statements that “terrorism” influenced voters re-elect President Juan Manuel Santos, local media reported on Wednesday.
Senator Guillermo Garcia Realpe expressed his outrage over statements made by Uribe saying that Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC, as well as neo-paramilitary affiliations, BACRIM, used their influence by means of terror to persuade citizens of Nariño to vote for Santos, according to Colombian newspaper El Espectador.
The senator from the Liberal Party said that his state is infuriated by Uribe’s remarks.
“This is the second time that this man has mistreated the citizens of Nariño. He treated us like we were drunks and of the mafia mentality,” said Garcia, adding, “we are asking him to apologize to the region of Nariño, because the wave of protest that we will promote will grow until he does it.”
“We are neither mobsters nor drunks, we do not pertain to the armed insurgency, and even less are we terrorists,” Garcia added.
Following Sunday’s presidential victory by Santos, Uribe took to the Plaza de Bolivar in the historical center of Bogota and announced the presumed existence of armed pressure on behalf of armed groups FARC and BACRIM towards voters that ensured they would vote in favor of Santos, Cartagena’s El Universal newspaper reported.
“I have voted with happiness for Zuluaga and Holmes, who represent democratic values without hypocrisies and a safe and peaceful country,” Uribe stated in Bogota on Sunday.
“I have voted with sadness because the terrorists of FARC and BACRIM threatened the voters of Zuluaga with massacres and guns, so they would vote in favor of candidate Santos, without him uttering a single word,” Uribe added.
The ex-president also took to Twitter early Monday morning and specifically attacked the region of Nariño.
“FARC demands payment from the traffickers of the municipalities of Nariño for Santos’ electoral logistics,” Uribe posted on Twitter.
Garcia signaled his belief that in the throes of presidential candidate Zuluaga’s loss to Santos in Sunday’s presidential elections, Uribe attempted to justify the defeat of his publicly supported candidate by scorning the southern population of Colombia who voted largely for Santos, El Espectador reported.
“The people of Nariño are against the war and against the continued terrorism or conflict in this region; because of this, this man tramples over the dignity of Nariño’s citizens and stigmatizes us,” Garcia said.
“For a region that has suffered such extreme violence, the will of the people gave us an opportunity for peace, and the ex-president doesn’t seem to like this,” the senator concluded.
After Santos’ re-election, Uribe also claimed that apart from using intimidation from illegal armed groups to win the election, Santos had also abused his power by bribing congressmen and was guilty of vote-buying.
These allegations; however, were dismissed by the Organization of American States (OAS) as “absolutely disproportionate” and that there had not been one complaint that would substantiate Uribe’s claims of electoral fraud.
- Nariñenses exigen respeto al expresidente Uribe (El Espectador)
- Uribe denuncia presiones armadas para votar por Santos (El Universal)