By Virginia Villa
Last Monday, Colombian authorities arrested Santiago Uribe, the brother of former Colombian President, Senator Álvaro Uribe. Uribe was arrested on Monday morning in Medellin following lingering suspicions that he had connections to paramilitary groups during the height of the armed conflict in Colombia. Uribe was arrested for possible connections to the right wing “death squad” known as the Twelve Apostles, who killed dozens of people in the 1990s. Among the possible charges Uribe could face if he is prosecuted are homicide and conspiracy. Some Colombian officials are even going so far as to say that Uribe founded the group.
Santiago Uribe has denied any involvement with the Twelve Apostles and supporters of his brother are calling the arrest an act of political persecution, possibly because the relationship between Álvaro Uribe and the current administration under President Juan Manuel Santos is a bitter and often contentious one. Senator Uribe has previously criticized the Santos Administration for not negotiating more consequences for rebel groups during peace talks. As of now, officials are not suspicious of any criminal activity on the part of Álvaro Uribe.
The arrest of Santiago Uribe comes at an interesting point in the Colombian Conflict. Though the height of the conflict has come and gone, Colombians are still hesitant to declare peace in the nation. Over the past decade or so, the Colombian government has been negotiating peace deals with rebel groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The arrest and pending investigation have the potential to spark new political unrest, and Colombian politicians like Álvaro Uribe are concerned that a lack of punishment for such violence will only delay the opportunities for peace in Colombia.