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| 12/10/2010 12:00:00 AM

Colombia: Cloud of Scandal Haunts Uribe's Legacy

December 10--When he stepped down in August after eight years as Colombia's President, Alvaro Uribe gave up the keys to the national palace, the private jet and the other perks of high office. But Uribe also surrendered his Teflon coating.

Uribe is hailed as a modern-day savior by many Colombians for orchestrating a military offensive that severely weakened Marxist rebels, making the country much safer and opening the door to an economic revival. Screwups — and there were many — were forgiven and forgotten. Had he not been banned by the Constitution from running in this year's presidential election, Uribe would likely have breezed to a third term. He bowed out with an 80% job approval rating.

But sans presidential sash and the aura it conveyed, Uribe has been scampering to defend himself and former aides amid accusations of skullduggery reminiscent of Watergate. Allegations include illegal payoffs, wiretapping and campaign-finance shenanigans. Several members of Uribe's inner circle could end up behind bars if convicted on charges based on the allegations. The former President further stained his image last month when he helped convince the Panamanian government to grant political asylum to his former intelligence chief, María del Pilar Hurtado, who was to be a key witness in the most serious scandal of the Uribe years.

Read more here.

Semana International delivers news about Colombia in English. Find more in our home.
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