Letter to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

Fecha

Bogotá, D.C., September 7, 2016

Autor

Centro Democrático

Bogotá, D.C., September 7, 2016

 

To:

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton

Nominee for President of the United States of America

 

Donald John Trump

Nominee for President of the United States of America

 

Dear Madam and dear Sir:

 

First of all, we would like to emphasize both that the United States has been a very important ally of Colombia in defending democracy and liberties and fighting crime and that such an alliance has gone beyond administrations and political parties. Today, we are hereby writing to you to raise concerns about the latest events in Colombia related to the so-called Havana deals:

 

  • FARC narcoterrorist group, the world’s biggest cocaine cartel, has managed to get, based on those deals, that the current Colombian government accepts that drug trafficking is a political offense. Consequently, main FARC ringleaders are benefiting from no extradition. Furthermore, they will not serve any jail sentence in Colombia and may be elected to hold public office. Other serious crimes such as massacres and kidnappings will not be duly punished either. Main FARC ringleaders will just need to admit a crime in order to be exempted from jail and, in any case, will benefit from becoming eligible for politics.

 

  • According to Havana deals, FARC terrorist organization, the world’s third richest terrorist group, will not be obliged to give up its money to make financial reparations to the victims and, consequently, will be able to use it to both buy as many guns as it needs and make political proselytism. Thus, if a political party is created as a result of terrorism, that money will be an element of distortion of democracy.

 

  • Former Colombian president César Gaviria said, in Colombia, that the president of the United States of America, His Excellency, Barack Obama, as he has the power to grant reprieves or pardons, would do so “in the very next December” for both FARC people sentenced and imprisoned in U.S. jails for serious crimes such as drug trafficking, terrorism, and kidnapping of U.S. citizens, and people who have not been arrested yet, but are wanted in connection with the same crimes.

 

We understand and respect Pres. Barack ’s powers to grant reprieves or pardons. Nevertheless, we would like to point out that such a decision would convey a very bad message in relation to the great efforts made by the United States and Colombia to fight organized crime for years, as set out below:

 

  1. Plan Colombia, which was agreed by and between then presidents Bill Clinton of the U.S. and Andrés Pastrana of Colombia, produced excellent results in diminishing drug trafficking and substituting illegal crops. All that effort appears to be lost today (e.g., levels of cocaine production in Colombia are becoming similar to those before Plan Colombia).

 

  1. Between 2002 and 2010, Colombia extradited to the U.S. around 1,200 people accused of drug trafficking, including, but not limited to, 14 paramilitary ringleaders, which has not been considered by those who say, in Colombia, that reprieves and pardons will be granted by the U.S. government to FARC drug traffickers and terrorists.

 

Thus, we decided to raise these concerns and, with all due respect, to ask you to think of them with confidence in the belief that our two countries will not permit that bad examples (e.g., Havana deals), instead of creating conditions for democracy, economic strength, justice, and reconciliation, encourage people to become the new criminals and pave the way for our country to become the second Chávez’s Venezuela.

 

Yours truly and respectfully,

 

 

Álvaro Uribe Vélez

Former President and incumbent Senator of Colombia

 

Carlos Holmes Trujillo García

Centro Democrático party presidential candidate

 

 

Iván Duque Márquez

Centro Democrático party presidential candidate

 

 

Óscar Iván Zuluaga Escobar

Centro Democrático party presidential candidate

 

 

Paloma Susana Valencia Laserna

Centro Democrático party senator and spokesperson

 

 

Rubén Darío Molano Piñeros

Centro Democrático party representative and spokesperson