Ex Colombian President Causes Controversy

Ex Colombian President, Alvaro Uribe, one of the first to recognize the current government, arrived in the capital on Sunday under tight security. He was welcomed by President Porfirio Lobo at the “Hernan Acosta Mejia” air base, and invited by the Honduran Private Business Council.

Not all Hondurans; however, are happy about his visit. Dozens of demonstrators dressed in black staged a sit-in at the international airport in Toncontin, chanting “Uribe, murderer, go home” and “the united people will never be defeated.”

According to local Colombian media, Colombia’s former President ignored a subpoena ordering him to give testimony in a civil case on Monday, and instead traveled to Honduras to visit President Lobo.

The victims’ defense said it would file a motion to compel, so a court can order Uribe to give testimony in the case. Attorney Terri Collingsworth said that Uribe apparently feels “above the law,” as the subpoena obliged him to appear. Uribe might be sanctioned for contempt of court if he were to ignore a court order to appear.

The plaintiffs are alleged victims of paramilitary violence by a U.S. coal company, Drummond. They want to hear from Alvaro Uribe because they claim his administration knew about alleged ties between Drummond and a faction of (a now defunct) paramilitary organization, AUC, that killed more than 130 civilians in the region where Drummond is active.

Additionally, here in Honduras, denunciations have been made by members of the National Front for the Popular Resistance. They claim that Colombian citizens are training paramilitary groups here in Honduras to crush popular movements.

“Farmers and youngsters have been murdered in collaboration with Colombia under the pretext of fighting drug trafficking,” one demonstrator, Reinan Centeno said.

Other demonstrations have been scheduled for tomorrow outside the National Congress headquarters, where Uribe is expected to be granted an award.

Honduras Police spokesman, Leonel Sauceda, warned that security forces “have the right under the law to use force in case the demonstrations get out of control.” Police officers throughout the capital are on alert, and helicopters are flying over Tegucigalpa as part of a security plan to protect the ex Colombian president.

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