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Viewing cable 06BOGOTA10976, OPPOSITION CALLS FOR RESIGNATION OF FOREIGN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06BOGOTA10976 2006-12-04 15:03 2011-02-20 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bogota
VZCZCXRO5587
PP RUEHAO RUEHCD RUEHGA RUEHGD RUEHHA RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL
RUEHQU RUEHRD RUEHRG RUEHRS RUEHTM RUEHVC
DE RUEHBO #0976/01 3381553
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 041553Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1178
INFO RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BOGOTA 010976 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/01/2016 
TAGS: KJUS PREL PREF CO
SUBJECT: OPPOSITION CALLS FOR RESIGNATION OF FOREIGN 
MINISTER ARAUJO 
 
REF: BOGOTA 8108 AND PREVIOUS 
 
Classified By: Political Counselor John Creamer - Reasons 1.4 (b,d) 
 
1. (C)  Summary.  In a stormy Senate debate on November 29, 
opposition politicians called on Foreign Minister Araujo to 
resign "for the good of Colombia" due to alleged family ties 
to paramilitaries.  The FM's brother, Senator Alvaro Araujo, 
called before the Supreme Court to answer allegations of para 
ties, said he would remain a senator and denied all charges. 
The FM told Congress she had the support of the president and 
would stay; numerous government officials and Congressional 
allies rose to her defense.  Some of those same allies, 
however, later told us the FM will likely "have to go."  Most 
predict the FM will leave within a month or two in a cabinet 
re-shuffle to mitigate political damage to the president. 
End summary. 
 
======================================= 
Opposition Calls on FM Araujo to Resign 
======================================= 
2. (U)  In a sometimes ugly Senate debate on November 29, the 
opposition Liberal and Polo Parties called on Foreign 
Minister Maria Consuelo Araujo to resign due to alleged 
family ties with paramilitaries (Reftel).  Liberal Senator 
Cecilia Lopez admitted there was no evidence linking the FM 
to paramilitaries or criminal acts, but she said that 
allegations against the FM's siblings (including Senator 
Alvaro Araujo, who was called to testify before the Supreme 
Court) made it "politically un-sustainable" for the FM to 
represent Colombia. She also accused the FM of influence 
trafficking for intervening with National Prosecutor (Fiscal) 
Mario Iguaran to inquire about Senator Araujo's legal 
situation.  Lopez, speaking for the Liberal party, and 
Senator Jorge Robledo speaking for Polo, called on FM Araujo 
to step aside for the good of the country. 
 
===================== 
FM Says She Will Stay 
===================== 
3.  (U)  FM Araujo told the assembled Senate plenary she 
would not resign and claimed the full support of President 
Alvaro Uribe. She admitted she had asked Fiscal Mario Iguaran 
about her brother's case.  Araujo did not directly address 
the accusations against her family members, providing a 
summary of her government experience and commitment to public 
service.  She asked Congress to judge her on results, and 
said Colombia would be best served if she kept her post. 
Only Conservative Senator Alberto Gerlein rose to 
congratulate the FM after her intervention.  Fiscal Iguaran, 
Peace Commissioner Juan Restrepo, Interior and Justice 
Minister Carlos Holguin, U Party Senator Luis Velez, and 
Cambio Radical Senator Nancy Patricia Gutierrez also spoke in 
defense of the FM. 
 
======================== 
Araujo Family Under Fire 
======================== 
4. (U)  Senator Araujo (of the coalition party Alas Equipo 
Colombiano) rose at almost midnight to say he would remain a 
senator, and to respond to opposition charges in front of a 
still packed Senate chamber.  In a passionate speech, 
punctuated with interruptions, screaming and personal attacks 
from all sides, Araujo denied the charges leveled against 
him, claimed he had never threatened the Uribe 
Administration, and said "I am not--and never have been --a 
paramilitary."  Iguaran confirmed that the FM's other 
brother, Sergio, and sister Ana Maria were also under 
investigation for possible ties to ex-para leader "Jorge 40." 
 
5. (C) Alvaro Araujo is at the center of allegations that the 
Araujo family is tied to the paramilitaries.  Still, Judicial 
Police (Dijin) chief Oscar Naranjo told us November 30 that 
Dijin has no concrete evidence linking him to criminal acts. 
If he were tried today, he would be acquitted.  Separately, 
DAS chief Andres Penate told us he was not aware of 
information indicating that Senator Araujo committed any 
crimes. 
 
======================================== 
Foreign Minister Araujo May "Have to go" 
======================================== 
6.  (C)  Numerous contacts told us after the debate that the 
FM will soon have to resign.  Senator Velez--who was chosen 
by the government to defend the FM in the Senate--told us 
only hours later that Araujo "will have to leave," probably 
after a month or two delay to avoid political damage to 
President Uribe.  U Party Senator Martha Lucia Ramirez, 
Cambio Radical leader German Vargas Lleras, and Conservative 
Party Senator Efrain Cepeda--all coalition members--agreed 
 
BOGOTA 00010976  002 OF 002 
 
 
the FM's position would soon be untenable, and predicted 
Araujo would be gone within a month or two.  The most likely 
scenario is that the FM would be replaced in a January 
cabinet re-shuffle. The FM's congressional liaison, Karen 
Mendoza, told us the FM had received "mixed messages" from 
congressional allies.  She said the FM was struggling to 
produce an international public relations plan in the event 
her family members end up in jail for paramilitary ties.  On 
December 1, U Party leader Carlos Gracia told the press he 
thought Foreign Minister Araujo should resign. 
DRUCKER 

=======================CABLE ENDS============================