Latin American Weekly Report

16/01/2020 - Colombian spying scandal rocks Duque government

Colombians are no strangers to spying scandals. The country’s now-defunct intelligence agency DAS became a byword for illegal spying on politicians, magistrates, and the media under the government led by Álvaro Uribe (2002-2010). The DAS was given what Uribe’s successor Juan Manuel Santos (2010-2018) described as a “Christian burial” in 2011 but it did not take the practice of illegal wiretapping to the grave with it. Not for the first time, serious allegations surfaced this week of its resurrection – this time by the head of the army, recently forced into retirement by President Iván Duque, whose right-wing Centro Democrático (CD) Uribe founded. Duque even faced criticism of manufacturing the news of an assassination plot on Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri (‘Timochenko’) in order to distract attention from the scandal, although the leader of the Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Común (Farc) went on record as saying the attempt on his life was genuine.

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