The fiercest critic of the Colombian peace accords took his message to Miami last Friday, telling journalists the treaty as it’s currently being negotiated will result in criminals and terrorists going free.
“Peace with impunity isn’t a sustainable peace,” said Sen. Álvaro Uribe, the former president of Colombia, at an afternoon news conference in Brickell. “It’s a bad precedent that will be the source of new violence.”
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who was the minister of defense under Uribe, hopes to sign a peace agreement by March to end the 50-year-old war. In September, Santos reached a landmark moment in peace talks with the FARC regarding punishment for the group’s worst human rights offenders. They would receive up to eight years of punishment — the details of which are still being decided. The FARC would also become a political party and take part in elections.
Uribe says the guerrillas, who once controlled much of rural Colombia, are getting off far too lightly for the scores of murders, kidnappings, and bombings they committed.
"The U.S. wouldn’t let this happen with Al-Qaeda," he said. ”Why do we want this for Colombia?
Uribe’s trip to Miami revolves around a fundraiser to help victims of a massive landslide in his country last May, in the southwestern province of Antioquia. Uribe says he plans to use the funds to build homes in areas that were swept away.
At the news conference, he answered questions from Spanish-language media about topics including renewed U.S.-Cuba relations and the political and social situation in Venezuela. Regarding the latter, he said Venezuelans must mobilize for the upcoming December 6 parliamentary elections, “to vote for democracy against tyranny.”
Uribe’s critics say it’s time he stepped down from his political activism. In a strong signal, members of his party, the Democratic Center, were huge losers in the country’s local and regional elections October 25. Party candidates received fewer than 1.5 million votes, winning only two of Colombia’s 32 governor races.
But Uribe, 63, who described himself as a “compulsive Twitterer,” said he has no plans to stop fighting anytime soon.
“I have to fulfill my duty to my country while I still have the energy."