More slime thrown at human-rights NGOs Not posting much this week
Sep 192008

In commemoration of Colombian President Álvaro Uribe’s visit to Washington today, here is a collection of some of his some of his more outrageous or bizarre verbal attacks on his country’s human-rights defenders, judges, independent journalists, and political opponents.

  • Every time a security policy to defeat terrorism appears in Colombia, when the terrorists begin to feel weak, they immediately send their spokespeople to talk about human rights. … These human-rights traffickers must take off their masks, appear with their political ideas and drop this cowardice of hiding them behind human rights.” – September 8, 2003, addressing the military high command
  • Many of those who attack the government saying that the president is a paramilitary, basically what they are is enraged that the president attacks the guerrillas. They are not able to say that they defend the guerrillas, and that they are very bothered because the government is fighting them. They should be more authentic, more sincere.” – November 19, 2006
  • [In the early 1990s some demobilized ex-guerrillas] simply took off their camouflage, put on a suit and came to Congress wanting to teach the country about morality. Some have done it well. Others, unfortunately, went from being terrorists in camouflage to terrorists in business suits.” – February 3, 2007
  • I am very worried that the guerrillas’ political friends, who live here constantly posing as political enemies of yankee imperialism, frequently travel to the United States to discredit the Colombian government, for two purposes: the purpose of keeping the Free Trade Agreement from being approved, and the purpose of suspending the aid. … [These are] friends of the guerrillas, politicians who want the guerrillas to triumph in Colombia, but lack the authenticity to call for it openly.” – April 19, 2007
  • You’re biased to the guerrillas and everyone in Colombia thinks that.” – May 2007, addressing Human Rights Watch/Americas director José Miguel Vivanco at a dinner with members of Congress in Washington.
  • Behind this woman is Gonzalo Guillén, who has dedicated his journalistic career to slander and lies.” – October 2007. Uribe responded to a book published by Pablo Escobar’s onetime girlfriend, which alleged that the young Uribe helped Escobar, by attacking Guillén, a reporter for the Miami Herald’s Spanish-language sister paper. Guillén said that he hadn’t even read the book in question.
  • The only thing you do is shield yourself in your rights as a journalist, so that in my case you can wound me with lies. Enough of this cynicism behind your quote-unquote ‘journalistic ethics.’” – October 2007, to Daniel Coronell, a columnist for Colombia’s largest newsmagazine, who has probed questions about the president’s alleged past relations with narcotraffickers and paramilitaries.
  • May they not make the mistake there [in Bogotá] of electing mayors supported by the guerrillas.” – October 2007, before voters went ahead and elected opposition-party member Samuel Moreno, who has no ties whatsoever to guerrillas, to serve as mayor of Bogotá.
  • I have wanted to fight for a safe, prosperous and equitable country. The trap of the power of terrorism in its death agony – to which justices of the Penal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice have lent themselves – does not appear to have a judicial solution.” – June 26, 2008, referring to the Supreme Court’s questioning of the 2004 constitutional amendment that allowed the president to run for a second term, which only passed a congressional committee with the vote of a legislator who was bribed.
  • It is important that the justice system investigate what manipulations of witnesses have been carried out by [opposition legislators] Sen. Piedad Córdoba or Sen. Gustavo Petro. It is very important to do that.” – August 11, 2008, charging that allegations tying the president’s political allies to paramilitary death squads are the product of the political opposition’s manipulation of witnesses.
  • What we have here is … ‘trafficking in witnesses.’ – August 25, 2008, accusing the Supreme Court of trying to build a false case linking him to paramilitary death squads.

17 Responses to “In his own words”

  1. Chris Says:

  2. boz Says:

    It’s almost funny to read Uribe’s quote about Vivanco today knowing that Chavez detained him and had him kicked out of the country yesterday. I wonder if when Uribe and Chavez have private meetings, they both talk about how much they dislike the guy.

  3. Adam Isacson Says:

    To have both of those leaders angry with you is a badge of honor in this line of work.

  4. Jaime Bustos Says:

    This guy is a freak! :lol:

    Adam, are neocons still playing along without even blushing?

  5. Randy Paul Says:

    What Adam said.

  6. Jaime Bustos Says:

    If I am not wrong this phrase Mr Uribe uttered in his previous lobbying visit to the U.S. summarizes his wisdom and unmatched articulate speeches:

    On hearing the news of financial cuts in Plan Colombia, President Uribe reacted with a popular saying, “never look a gift horse in the mouth”.

  7. James J. Brittain Says:

    Great job, Adam. However, lest we forget Uribe’s comments when referring to the POLO on May 5th, 2006;

    “Colombia now has to choose if we are going to keep improving our country through democratic security as a way toward peace, or are we going to take a step back with masked communism, which would hand the country over to the FARC”.

  8. Wesley McKain Says:

    You guys can say what you want, but I quite like his comment about terrorists in business suits. It’s clever. Anyway, he obviously has a personal obsession with finding guerrillas and their supporters, like Sen. Joe McCarthy, with the difference that the “leftist threat” actually exists here in Colombia. It’s unfortunate that such a narrow-minded guy became president, but hey, at least he got something done.

  9. Latin@rama - Uribe und Bush - Melancholisches Ende einer Männerfreundschaft - tazblogs Says:

    [...] lobte Bush in einer aufschussreichen Assoziationskette. Das stimmt nur zur Teil, wie eine Zitatensammlung zeigt, die US-AktivistInnen anlässlich des Uribe-Besuch zusammengestellt [...]

  10. Lou Says:

    I hope he stays in the US. He does less damage from there.

  11. Chris Says:

  12. Camilla Says:

    Too bad the radical left is incapable of taking a good look at itself, admitting its error, vowing to improve and then getting elected to power legitimately. There’s a reason Uribe has an 82% popularity rating and it has a lot to do with the truth of Uribe’s words. But don’t expect the left to comprehend that reality.

  13. MZR Says:

    The “radical” left tried to get elected to power legitimately. Look at the Unión Patriótica (UP)? Whatever you might think about the UP (for example, it was a tool of the FARC to garner further support for conflict through political assassination of its own members or that it was a legitimate party vying for power that was tragically extirpated by paramilitaries and Colombian politicians), you have to at least admit that the tragic story of the UP doesn’t bode well for the “radical” left to enter politics. For example, within the first two years of the UP’s existence, the collusion of the army, paramilitaries, and drug traffickers led to the assassination of over 500 UP members. Within ten years, over 3,000 were dead. In 1987, the UP’s presidential candidate, Jaime Pardo Leal, was assassinated (after winning more votes than any left-candidate in Colombian history). In 1990, another UP presidential candidate, Bernardo Jaramillo, was assassinated, followed by the assassination of Carlos Pizarro, the leader of M-19.

    So, what I’m trying to say, Camilla, is that it isn’t so easy for the left to “get elected” legitimately. It’s far more complicated than what you seem to be postulating.

  14. Sergio Méndez Says:


    What is the “error of the radical left”? Defending human rights? Interfering with criminals like Uribe supporters and maybe himself? Is funny to see Uribe say all he has said specially after Chavez kicked out this Human Right Watch guy from Venezuela. Which shows that Uribe is not very different from his supposed nemesis

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    [...] Adam. 2008. “In his own words,” September 19 On-Line Accessed September 20, [...]

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