Colombia: Prosecutor’s Office Opens Internal Investigation for Cooperation with Leftist Foundation
Baltasar Garzón, a pioneer of FIBGAR, is the lead attorney for the Grupo de Puebla, an organization founded by top leftist Latin American leaders
Spanish – The lawyer and political consultant Victor Manuel Zalba alleged through the PanAm Post that there are possible links between the Colombian Attorney General’s Office and the International Foundation Baltasar Garzón (FIBGAR). The founder of the latter is a member of the Puebla Group. Subsequently, the lawyer and president of the board of directors of the Association Unite for Colombia, Bernardo Henao Jaramillo, along with the lawyer Joan Sebastián Jaramillo, formalized the complaint. The Attorney General’s Office responded to the same by announcing an internal investigation to clarify the facts.
FIBGAR goes by the name of Baltasar Garzón—a judge dismissed in 2012 following a case of illegal interceptions ordered by him. According to the organization’s website, it aims to promote “human rights, cooperation for people’ s development, mediation, and the fight against impunity.”
Although FIBGAR’s objective statement does not present any partisan links, its founder, Baltasar Garzón, is the main lawyer of the Grupo de Puebla, an organization founded by the top left-wing Latin American leaders including Lula da Silva, Evo Morales, José Mujica, Dilma Rousseff, and Ernesto Samper Pizano. The Puebla Group is something like a new Sao Paulo Forum.
The complaint is based on the fact that the Colombian organization has “incurred in the prohibition contained in paragraph 4 of Article 35 of Law 734 of 2002, considering that the International Foundation Baltasar Garzón, shows on its website that the Attorney General’s Office makes agreements with a foreign private organization.”
In an interview with the PanAm Post, lawyer Victor Manuel Zalba warned about the presence of the Attorney General’s logo on the website of FIBGAR collaborators and the need to clarify whether the Colombian Attorney General’s Office cooperates with this organization in any way.
¿Por qué aparece el logo de la Fiscalía de Colombia en la página web de la Fundación Baltasar Garzón?
El exjuez inhabilitado es actualmente abogado principal del Grupo de Puebla, del que forma parte Gustavo Petro.@MariaFdaCabal @AlvaroUribeVel @mariaduran1987 @drvargasquemba pic.twitter.com/SzHjSvLtgG
— Víctor Manuel Zalba (@ManuelZLB) June 12, 2020
FIBGAR was linked to the Prosecutor’s Office since the administration of Juan Manuel Santos when Eduardo Montealegre was a prosecutor. In 2014, the Colombian press revealed that the Spanish judge had charged the Prosecutor’s Office 80 million pesos to conduct a special study for the Analysis and Context Unit. Garzón’s mission was to advise on how criminal organizations should be judged in the framework of a peace process.
This contract was sanctioned by the Public Prosecutor’s Office and FIBGAR in 2012 and exposed to public opinion by the newspaper El Espectador. Garzón was one of the advisors who participated in the peace process and was reportedly involved in a series of controversial contracts awarded at the time by prosecutor Eduardo Montealegre.
In 2014, the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic issued a report claiming that this contract worth 80 million pesos had been awarded “by hand,” and that it did not meet the relevant legal requirements, nor had the purpose of the contract been fulfilled.
Lawyer Victor Zalba responded to the announcement of an internal investigation by the Attorney General’s Office by stating that “the logo of the Attorney General’s Office should undoubtedly be removed as a precautionary measure. The second thing would be to see what kind of agreement both parties had, if any, and determine whether the use of a logo as important as that of an institution like the Attorney General’s Office can be publicized as they have been doing.”
“You can see that there has been money involved on the part of the Public Prosecutor’s Office to a judge disqualified by the Spanish justice system itself, who has contacts with extreme-left groups, such as the Grupo de Puebla throughout Latin America,” Zalba added.
The lawyer Bernardo Henao Jaramillo, author of the complaint, explained that “this complaint is very sensitive to our way of seeing things and can reveal many things behind this relationship with the Prosecutor’s Office. What we must ask ourselves is whether it is normal for a foundation of this kind to incur the support of international organizations to finance itself, which is suspicious for an official institution with powers granted by the state to appear to be linked to an international foundation with political ties to leftist groups.”