Wikileaks Colombia cables revealed and President Santos declares ‘disaster’ after huge landslide in Antioquia.
This week the Wikileaks revelations hit Colombia as the Spanish newspaper El Pais revealed the details of some of the 2,416 cables sent to or from the US embassy in Bogotá. One of the first major revelations was that ex-President Uribe had sought a secret dialogue with the FARC in the last months of his presidency.
The cables also commented on the strained relationship during the Uribe presidency with neighbours Ecuador and Venezuela, as Uribe blamed the failure to secure negotiations with the FARC on the support they received from the Chavez regime. In a cable dated from 2007, Uribe warned that Chavez could use the FARC as a ‘militia inside Colombia to destroy its democratic government’, comparing the Venezuelan president’s revolutionary project to a ‘threat comparable to that of Hitler in Europe’. A cable also showed that the then leader of Colombia’s armed forces, General Freddy Padilla de León had asked the US for military intelligence about both Venezuela and Ecuador.
A further cable shed light on the DAS wiretapping scandal, revealing that the director of Colombia’s National Police, Oscar Naranjo, had said to the ex-US ambassador to Colombia, William Brownfield, that he suspected that Bernard Moreno and José Obdulio Gaviria had been the intellectual authors of the intelligence agency´s spying on Supreme Court judges, journalists and opposition politicans.
The Colombian government announced an Economic, Social and Ecological emergency last Wednesday and that the country was now in a situation of ‘Disaster’, after a huge landslide in Bello, Antioquia covered 35 houses and left at least 56 people dead. The tragedy in Bello is only one example of the serious effects of the ‘winter wave’ in Colombia as an official report by the Colombian Interior ministry announced that 1.8 million people had now been affected by the rain, with 250 dead, over 2000 houses destroyed and more than 275,000 households damaged.
President Santos’ declaration of an ‘Emergency’ gives the government a powerful arsenal of fiscal and contractual powers to provide humanitarian aid, food and housing, and for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the destroyed infrastructure in many parts of the country. The government also estimated that the damages had now reached almost $1000 million. The UN announced it would donate over $6 million in aid to help victims.