Arrest of Colombian President’s Cousin Widens ‘Para-Politics’ Scandal

Arrest of Colombian President’s Cousin Widens ‘Para-Politics’ Scandal

BOGOTÁ, Colombia -- The arrest of Colombian President Álvaro Uribe's cousin and political ally, Mario Uribe, on charges of conspiring with the country's paramilitary groups, brings the country's so-called "para-politics" scandal closer to the president's inner circle.

Mario Uribe's arrest on April 22 and the ever-growing domestic scandal that links politicians with outlawed right-wing paramilitary groups is being seen as the most serious crisis facing President Uribe since he first came to power in 2002.

A former senator who co-founded the Democratic Colombia Party with the president, Mario Uribe is one of the most prominent politicians engulfed in the scandal that has also led to the downfall of other leading figures, including the foreign minister and chief of intelligence. Mario Uribe is accused of forging relations with paramilitary groups in 2002 to benefit his political career, according to the testimony of a jailed former paramilitary boss.

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