Sunday, August 21, 2011

Uribe in His Labyrinth

Ex-Pres. Alvaro Uribe not looking happy.
The Washington Post newspaper published three stories today (here, here and here) about the chuzadas scandal, in which ex-President Alvaro Uribe allegedly ordered eavesdrops and other spying tactics against high court officials.

If the allegations are true, they're yet another sign of Uribe's Nixon-like paranoia about critics and opponents.

The Post makes the point that the alleged spying campaign apparently used funding sent by the United States government for anti-drug and anti-guerrilla efforts. If that's correct, then it's of course a terrible misuse of foreign aid. However, it's probably also true that the judicial system now investigating Uribe has also received U.S. support.

With ex-Pres. Uribe besieged by a corruption investingation, Uribe's one-time minister of agriculture in prison for allegedly giving ag subsidy money to political allies and Bogotá's mayor suspended from office and apparently headed to prison on corruption charges, it looks like Colombia's experience a real corruption epidemic.

That might be true, altho from my observation corruption is much less rampant in Colombia than in countries such as Bolivia, Paraguay and Venezuela, where I also lived.

And, the sort of refreshing aspect of this is that it's happening despite the fact that Uribe is still very popular, and that current Pres. Juan Manuel Santos was Uribe's defense minister and succesor (altho the two have clashed recently). I suspect that such investigations of a predecessor wouldn't happen in many countries.

So, this is a story of corruption - but also of a system that's responding to the problem, however tardily.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

No comments: