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Colombia’s Wire-Tapping Scandal

May 2, 2010

The latest from Colombia in the run up to the presidential elections scheduled to take place later is year is a blow to current president Alvaro Uribe.  A wire-taping scandal has been exposed in the country which has been under the regime of right-wing Uribe for the past 8 years.  The details are still a bit murky, but it appears that the Colombian secret police (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad) DAS has been using illegal phone taps to keep tabs on political dissidents, union leaders, journalists, and even the supreme court.

As ever, the Colombian client state is taking a page from the playbook of the Imperium, implementing illegal wire-taps in order to keep tabs on all those who are deemed ‘untrustworthy’ by the increasing omnipresent police-security state.  What is not clear is what the political fallout will be from the scandal.  Thus far Uribe has denied any involvement or prior knowledge and he remains largely popular in the country for bringing some stability to the country that has lived with a civil war for nearly 50 years now, albeit at the cost of the loss of civil liberties, the worst human rights record in the hemisphere (when it comes to anti-union activities, perhaps the worst it the world), and a neo-colonial military accommodation with the US that was resulting in the isolation of Colombia from much of the rest of Latin America.  But while Uribe might escape with his reputation untarnished in the minds of the population, the front-runner to succeed Uribe as president, former Defense minister Juan Manuel Santos, is being implicated as having known as participated it the wire-taping scandal.  If Santos becomes sufficiently mired in the controversy it may end up have a decisive bearing on the eventual outcome of the election.  Although it is hard to see the opposition in Colombia challenging the Uribe crowd at this point, it is something to keep and eye on.

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