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Cablegate: Senator Piedad Cordoba's Comments Increasingly

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PTER CO
SUBJECT: SENATOR PIEDAD CORDOBA'S COMMENTS INCREASINGLY
STRIDENT

REF: BOGOTA 1954

SUMMARY
-------

1. Liberal Party Senator Piedad Cordoba publicly praised the
efforts of deceased FARC founder Pedro Marin in a June 3
public address and again in an exclusive interview published
on June 8. Cordoba called the Uribe administration a "puppet
government" and called the Ambassador a "reptile." She
claimed the CIA is bribing former FARC members to give false
testimony that will implicate her as a FARC supporter.
Liberal Party leader and former President Cesar Gaviria
reprimanded Cordoba for her comments. The Liberal Party
announced June 8 it would call her before a party committee.
End Summary.

PIEDAD PRAISES THE FARC...
--------------------------

2. In a June 3 address to a student group in Medellin,
Senator Piedad Cordoba eulogized the recently deceased FARC
founder Pedro Marin (Manuel Marulanda) and likened him to
other historic Colombian figures. She called for more active
revolutionaries in Colombia. In an exclusive interview with
Semana magazine published on June 8, Cordoba underscored she
did not regret her June 3 remarks. She insisted she does not
support armed conflict, but applauded Marulanda for spending
his life confronting "the establishment," justifying the
FARC's existence due to social injustice.

3. The press reported that the 900 emails discovered on
former FARC Secretariart member Raul Reyes' computers,
reportedly sent by, to, or about Cordoba, calls into doubt
her role as an impartial intermediary for a humanitarian
exchange or broader peace process. Emails from Cordoba to
members of the FARC show her strong affinity for the FARC's
cause and also reveal her providing the group strategic
advice. In a December 11, 2007 email, FARC member "Cesar"
provides what he calls an "almost verbatim" account of his
meeting with Cordoba earlier that day. According to the
email, Cordoba advised the FARC against liberating
high-profile hostage Ingrid Betancourt. At the time the
meeting allegedly took place, Cordoba no longer had GOC
authorization to negotiate with the FARC.

...AND BLAMES THE GOC AND USG
-----------------------------

4. Also in her June 3 speech, Cordoba claimed the country is
tired of the "puppet government" controlled by the United
States. She called President Uribe the "leader of
paramilitarism." In the subsequent Semana interview, she
also criticized Uribe as Colombia's "murder champion."
Cordoba claimed the contents of the Reyes computers are
fabrications set up by Minister of Defense Juan Manual
Santos. She also described the Ambassador as a "perfect
reptile" who goes out on Sundays on his bicycle seeking
acclaim as if he were in the Roman Empire. In her Semana
interview, Cordoba charged that the CIA is trying to
implicate her as a FARC supporter, offering USD 300,000 and
work visas to former FARC members to testify against her.

REACTIONS
---------

5. Liberal party leader and former President Cesar Gaviria
publicly reprimanded Cordoba, saying that her comments damage
Colombia's democracy and the Liberal party. He announced
that party members should make clear that the FARC is not a
legitimate organization. In a June 9 announcement, Liberal
Party spokesman and Senator Hector Heli Rojas said Cordoba
would be called before a party committee. He noted that
while the party welcomes a diversity of views, the Liberal
Party is not a friend of the FARC or kidnapping. An
unrepentant Cordoba replied that she is the legitimate
"intellectual heir" of murdered Liberal leader Jorge Gaitan.

6. Based on its preliminary review of Reyes' computer
files, the Prosecutor General (Fiscal General) referred
Cordoba's case, as well those of two other legislators, to

the Supreme Court for further investigation into possible
sedition or other charges. To date, the Court has not yet
called her to testify.
BROWNFIELD

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