Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Term of office:||August 7, 2002-Present|
|Predecessor:||Andrés Pastrana Arango|
|Date of birth:||July 4, 1952|
|Place of birth:||Medellín|
|First Lady :||Lina Moreno de Uribe|
|Vice president :||Francisco Santos Calderón|
Álvaro Uribe Vélez (born July 4, 1952) is the President of Colombia (since 2002). He is a lawyer from the University of Antioquia, with a specialization in Administration and Management from Harvard University. He is married to Lina Moreno de Uribe and has two sons, Tomás and Jerónimo.
Early life and education
Álvaro Uribe is the first of five children born to Alberto Uribe Sierra and Laura Vélez. His mother had served as councilwoman and his father was a wealthy landowner and cattle rancher. Uribe Sierra was a personal friend and show-horse breeder colleague of the Ochoa family, some of whose members would later be involved in the drug trade.
At the age of ten, his family moved to Medellín from their Salgar ranch. He studied in schools managed by Jesuits and Benedictines. He was a 1970 graduate of the prestigious Jorge Robledo Institute, where his academic performance allowed him to be exempt from all final exams during the last two years of school.
Uribe later studied at the University of Antioquia , where he earned his law degree in 1977, and where had become a member of the Colombian Liberal Party's "Liberal Youth" wing. He was awarded a scholarship for excellence during his time at university.
In 1976 Uribe was Chief of assets for the Public Enterprises of Medellín (Empresas Públicas de Medellín ). Under the presidency of Alfonso López Michelsen, he served as Secretary General of the Ministry of Labor from 1977 to 1978. He married during this time.
Critics consider that this was due to Uribe's alleged support for at least two public works (a massive housing project for the Medellín's poor and a reforestation campaign) that were inaugurated by Pablo Escobar Gaviria , at a time when the drug lord was attempting to buy public sympathy.
Uribe's father, was assassinated by the FARC guerrilla during a 1983 kidnapping attempt. After his death, Álvaro Uribe got rid of most of what were now his rural properties and concentrated on his political career as a member of the Colombian Liberal Party.
Senator for Antioquia
As senator he served as president of the Seventh Commission and he supported laws that dealt with: pension reform, labor reform, promotion of the administrative career, democratic financing of soccer clubs, social security reform, promotion of cooperative banking, creation of a benefits fund for teachers, production of black sugar, and protection for women as heads of the family.
Some of the legislation has been later criticized, in particular Law 50 of 1990 and Law 100 of 1993, which allowed for increased flexibilization of the labor market and the privatization and massification of social security. Many later observers have considered these laws as either insufficient or as ultimately counterproductive for the labor and health markets in Colombia, and further reform attempts have been necessary.
During his later term he received official and unofficial awards that considered him as one of the "best senators" (1990, 1992 and 1993) and as the senator with the "best legislative initiatives" (1992).
Governor of Antioquia
During his term, Uribe put in practice what he termed as the model for a communitarian state, which would theoretically consist of an active citizen participation in the administration's decision making process. It was claimed that this model would be useful to generate improvements in employment, education, administrative transparency and public security.
The results of his governorship would include, according to statistics provided by the governor's office and contemporary analysts, a 34% reduction of the department's bureaucracy and 35% of the vehicles in official use. 102.000 new school slots were created by contracting private schools and 40.000 people were trained in peaceful conflict negotiation. It is claimed that 1.200.000 poor people entered into the subsidized health system, that 939 km of roads were paved (which would allegedly be more than half of the total road distance paved in Antioquia to that date), that available telephone lines were also doubled and an increasing number of school scholarships were awarded. He is also credited with a 60% reduction in kidnappings, providing safety to the roads connecting Medellín and the capital of Bogotá and with slashing numerous expenses that allowed for administrative savings.
In his jurisdiction, governor Uribe openly supported a national program of cooperative neighborhood watch groups that become known as CONVIVIR, which had been created by a February 11 1994 decree of Colombia's Ministry of Defense. The CONVIVIR groups quickly became controversial.
Reports argued that some achieved results in providing security to communities and intelligence coordination to military forces, but apparently numerous members committed abuses against civilians, without a serious oversight over their operations and organization. In 1998, Human Rights Watch stated that "we have received credible information that indicated that the CONVIVIR groups of the Middle Magdalena and of the southern Cesar regions were directed by known paramilitaries and had threatened to assassinate Colombians that were considered as guerrilla sympathizers or which rejected joining the cooperative groups". 
After much political debate, a November 1997 decision of Colombia's Constitutional Court stated that CONVIVIR members could not gather intelligence information and could not employ military grade weapons. Other restrictions included increasing legal supervision, and in early 1998 dozens of former CONVIVIR groups had their licenses revoked, because they did not turn in their weapons and withheld information about their personnel. Due to these measures, some gradually turned in their weapons and phased themselves out. 237 of the restricted weapons were returned to authorities by the end of 1997. Other members did not comply and later joined paramilitary groups such as the AUC. 
2002 presidential elections
After four years of failed attempts by the previous administration, under Andrés Pastrana to negotiate a ceasefire amid decreasing public support for the peace process and the guerrillas, electoral analysts considered that public mood had shifted.
Until at least a year before the election, polls showed that no more than 2% of the electorate contemplated voting for Álvaro Uribe and in fact the Liberal Party's Horacio Serpa was the probable winner, but this trend began to change as the peace process degenerated, resulting in the perception of Uribe as the candidate that could potentially provide a viable security program in order to face the country's insurgencies. Former General Harold Bedoya Pizarro , a candidate with a superficially similar program, remained marginalized.
Uribe's electoral platform was centered around the policy of confronting Colombia's main guerrilla movement, the FARC. Other relevant ropositions included slashing the national administration's expenses, fighting corruption and proposing a national referendum to resolve several of the country's political and economical concerns.
Running as an independent liberal candidate (having unofficially separated himself from his former party), he was elected President of Colombia in the first round of the 26 May 2002 elections with 53% of the popular vote. His running mate was Francisco Santos Calderón , a member of the Santos family that had a long-lasting tradition as members of the Colombian Liberal Party and as owners of Colombian daily 'El Tiempo'.
Electoral observers present considered the presidential elections to be mostly free of foul play at the national level, but instances of active intimidation towards the voting population and the candidates did occur, due to the actions of guerrilla and paramilitary groups. Voter participation in the election was of 47% of the potential electorate, down from the previous round of voting. 
Some of Uribe's opponents made accusations during his campaign, especially in a speech by Horacio Serpa and in a book published by Newsweek's Joseph Contreras , who interviewed Uribe that same year. Claims in particular centered on past instances of Uribe's alleged personal relationships with members of the Medellin Cartel and the sympathy that some paramilitary spokesmen publicly expressed towards Uribe as a candidate. These accusations were denied or undermined by Uribe and his supporters and critics have not committed to any legal action regarding the charges.
As president, polls (usually based on a random sample of income-classified telephone numbers) have consistently shown what would be an unprecedented level of support by many Colombians (estimated at around 70% after his second year in office).
Uribe's relative popularity, concentrated among the medium and higher income sectors of society, is largely considered to be due to his administration's relatively successful campaigns against the FARC and the ELN, and in part to the efforts made to begin demobilizing the paramilitaries (AUC). Another aspect of this phenomenon that has been pointed out by analysts concerns the generalized perception of Uribe as a charismatic 24-hour workaholic and as a promoter of personal and administrative austerity, which has been interpreted by some as a role model for other Colombians and politicians.
Uribe and members of his cabinet travel outside of Bogotá during the weekends and, as part of the communitarian state model that he has implemented, organize weekly communitarian councils in every department, including remote regions of the national territory. These sessions are televised live through national television on one of the state's public channels for several hours. The stated objective of these councils is to promote citizen participation and exchange direct feedback with local authorities, publicly hearing and discussing their different concerns.
It is widely thought among his supporters that these councils have contributed to varying degrees of advancement in the resolution of local issues by simplifying "red tape" and are credited with keeping Uribe's popularity levels, reinforcing his image of a hardworking, plain-speaking politician. His sympathizers consider he has achieved significant results in the fight against illegal armed groups, that his efforts have allowed civilian traffic to return to many Colombian roads that had been abandoned during the 1990s, and that he has tried to implement macroeconomic measures that would stimulate internal commerce, growth and reduce unemployment.
Many of his opponents consider that Uribe's popularity might be overestimated and tend to believe that most polls under-represent the opinions of poor rural and urban voters without access to telephone lines or other standard polling methods, voters which would allegedly be somewhat less supportive of his administration. Some believe that Uribe has not done enough to address Colombia's problems or has contributed to them, and that the security and human rights situations still remain considerably fragile. A number of critics also consider that Uribe's use of his charisma during the councils is a form of populism, and might lead to lapses into authoritarianism on his part, though he has never done anything that violates the country's constitutional and legal order.
Uribe's declared priority has been to contain or defeat the three main armed groups in Colombia, the AUC, ELN, and FARC, and military operations launched against all three groups have increased in intensity since he took office, especially against FARC. In November 7, 2004, Colombian military intelligence intercepted a message from FARC leaders calling for all its guerilla units to try to assassinate him.
Uribe has stated that the government must first show military superiority in order to eventually make the guerrillas return to the negotiating table with a more flexible position, even if this would only happen after his term in office expired. He has been quoted as saying that Colombia's main concerns at the moment are the challenges of terrorism and the narcotics trade and "Of course we need to eliminate social injustice in Colombia but what is first? Peace". 
His security program is based on the application of what has been termed as a policy of "democratic security", with the defined objectives of:
- gradually restoring police presence in all municipalities
- increasing judicial action against crimes of high social impact,
- strengthening public institutions
- reducing human rights violations
- dismantling terrorist organizations,
- reducing kidnappings and extortion
- reducing homicide levels
- preventing forced displacement and facilitating the return of forcefully-displaced people
- continuing to fight the illegal drug trade through interdiction, eradication and judicial action.
The policy intends to achieve these goals through:
- engaging the civilian population more actively
- supporting soldiers
- increasing intelligence capacity
- reinstating control over national roads
- demobilizing illegal groups
- integrating the armed forces services
- increasing defense spending.
In early 2002, Uribe's administration decreed a one-time tax of 1.2% of the liquid assets of the higher income Colombians and corporations, with the goal of raising US $800 million, of which in excess of $650 million was collected before the final payment quota was made, surpassing original expectations. Another goal is to increase defense expenditures from a current level of about 3.6% of GDP to 6% of GDP by 2006. 
This policy has been considered controversial inside and outside of Colombia, including by Uribe's political opponents and by some human rights organizations, because it allegedly provides an exclusively military perspective to the situation and places the civilian population at risk, increasing the dangers of abuses both by military forces, the paramilitaries and the guerrilla insurgents.  
According to official government statistical information from August 2004, in two years, homicides, kidnappings, and terrorist attacks in Colombia decreased by as much as 50% - their lowest levels in almost twenty years. In 2003, there were 7,000 fewer homicides than in 2002 - a decrease of 27%. By April 2004, the government had established a permanent police or military presence in every Colombian municipality for the first time in decades. 
The Colombian Embassy in Washington states that, as a result of this policy, the Colombian armed forces would now have: "60% more combat ready soldiers than four years ago; Helicopters which have significantly improved the mobility of Armed Forces throughout the national territory; Attack helicopters ensuring means to be more aggressive in the fight against FARC and AUC; Increased basic combat supplies, including rifles and ammunition; and [has received] significant less human rights complaints against them." 
Many analysts tend to accept that there have been some factual improvements in the areas of security (for the most part) and human rights (to a lesser degree), but they also question the exact validity and application of some of the statements, pointing out serious problems, in particular (but not only) paramilitary related, which remain a source of grave concern.
In January 2005, Human Rights Watch expressed the policy's apparent inability to adequately address the following issues: "Paramilitary groups maintain close ties with a number of Colombian military units. The Uribe administration has yet to take effective action to break these ties by investigating and prosecuting high-ranking members of the armed forces credibly alleged to have collaborated with paramilitary groups. Credible reports indicate that some of the territories from which the military has ejected the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolutionarias de Colombia, FARC) are now under the control of paramilitary groups, which continue to carry out indiscriminate attacks on the civilian population." 
A February 2005 report from the United Nations's High Commissioner for Human Rights on the year 2004 stated: "Achievements and advances were observed in the field of human rights and international humanitarian law; however, there were also difficulties and contradictions...Progress was recorded in terms of prevention and protection, including strengthening of the mechanism of community defenders and the early warning system, as well as regarding the Ministry of the Interior’s programmes for the protection of vulnerable groups. Weaknesses persisted in the Government’s responses to warnings, as well as in decreasing risk factors for vulnerable groups. The Government adopted positive measures regarding the destruction of stored anti-personnel mines. The armed forces occasionally carried out operations in which they failed to observe humanitarian principles." 
An anti-terror statute that granted the military judicial police rights and allowed limited arrests and communication intercepts without warrants, criticized by many human rights groups, had been approved by Congress on December 11 2003 but was struck down in August 2004 by the Colombian Constitutional Court during its review, due to an error in the approval procedure, an objection that it has also presented towards other bills.  Few analysts have speculated that the Uribe administration might want to try to re-introduce a similar bill in 2005, and no signs of that have surfaced yet.
Since gaining office, Uribe's concrete actions would tend to show him as a stringent enemy of narcotics traffickers, as his administration has been responsible for arresting and extraditing more drug traffickers to the United States and to other countries than all other presidents to date.
He has also been publicly recognized as a supporter of the United States in the war on terror (supporting the invasion of Iraq despite internal opinions to the contrary) and in the war on drugs, through the continued implementation of the anti-drug strategy of Plan Colombia.
In a November 22 visit to the coastal city of Cartagena, U.S. President George W. Bush stood by the results of Colombian president Uribe's security policies and declared his support for continuing to provide Plan Colombia aid in the future: "My nation will continue to help Colombia prevail in this vital struggle. Since the year 2000, when we began Plan Colombia, the United States has provided more than $3 billion in vital aid. We'll continue providing aid. We've helped Colombia to strengthen its democracy, to combat drug production, to create a more transparent and effective judicial system, to increase the size and professionalism of its military and police forces, to protect human rights, and to reduce corruption. Mr. President, you and your government have not let us down. Plan Colombia enjoys wide bipartisan support in my country, and next year I will ask our Congress to renew its support so that this courageous nation can win its war against narco-terrorists." 
The Uribe administration has maintained generally positive diplomatic relations with Spain and most Latin American nations. It signed several accords, including a 2004 one for the joint construction of a pipeline with Venezuela, a 2005 security and anti-drug trafficking cooperation deal with Paraguay , a 2004 commercial and technological cooperation agreement with Bolivia , a defense agreement with Spain (which was modified in 2004 but still remained valid) , and economic and cultural agreements with the People's Republic of China in April 2005 .
Several analysts consider that, being a relative ally of the United States, he would be ideologically opposed to leftwing governments in Latin America and elsewhere. Despite these ideological differences, Uribe has participated in multilateral meetings and has held bilateral summits with presidents Hugo Chávez, Omar Torrijos, Lula da Silva, Ricardo Lagos, Carlos Mesa and Vicente Fox, among others. Colombia has also maintained diplomatic relations with Cuba and the People's Republic of China.
There have been some diplomatic incidents and crises between Venezuela and Colombia during his term, in particular around the 2005 Rodrigo Granda affair, Colombia's frustrated 2004 acquisition of 46 AMX-30 tanks from Spain and an Alleged_planned_Venezuelan_coup_in_2004 by alleged Colombian paramilitaries. These internationally worrying circumstances have been ultimately resolved through the use of official diplomatic channels and bilateral presidential summits (in the first two cases).
International law enforcement cooperation has been maintained with countries such as the United States, Spain, Great Britain, México, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Panama, Paraguay, Honduras and Brazil among others.
The Uribe administration has continued dealing with the IMF and the World Bank, securing loans, agreeing to cut expenses, agreeing to continue debt payments, privatize public companies and foment investor confidence, in order to comply with financial orthodoxy. It is claimed that these and other measures are necessary to reduce inflation and the size of the state's deficit.
The government's High Advisor for Social Policy, Juan Lozano , presented in February 2005 some of the administrations alleged socio-economic statistics: an increase of 5 million affiliates to the subsidized health system (3.5 million made in 2004, for a total of 15.4 affiliates), an increase of 2 million Colombians that receive meals and care through the Institute of Family Welfare (ICBF) (for a total of 6.6 million in 2004), an increase of 1.7 million education slots in the National Service of Learning (SENA) (for a total of 2.7 million in 2004), an increase of 157% in the amount of microcredits available to small entrepreneurs, a reduction of unemployment from 15.6% in December 2002 to 12.1% by December of 2004, the addition of almost 200.000 new houses to existing housing projects for the poor, a total of 750.000 new school slots in primary and high school, some 260.000 new university slots, the return of 70.000 displaced persons to their homes (under a 800% increase in the budget assigned to this matter), and support for program that seeks to increase economic subsidies from 170.000 to 570.000 of the elderly by the end of the term.
The High Advisor added that a "colossal effort" is still required and that work must continue, and that this progress would constitute a sign of the Uribe administration's positive effects on social indicators.  
Companies such as Carbocol, Telecom, Bancafé, Minercol and others, which were either already in crisis or considered by the government as overly expensive to maintain under their current spending conditions, were among those restructured or privatized.
Uribe's administration has been considered as neoliberal by most direct critics, which argue that it has not addressed the root causes of poverty and unemployment, because continued application of traditional trade and tax policies tend to benefit private and foreign investors over small owners and workers. It is claimed by union and labor groups that many of the privatizations and liquidations have been done to please the IMF, the World Bank and multinational companies, and would end up hurting several national industries in the long run.
Setbacks in 2003
A national referendum had been promoted during Uribe's campaign and was later subject to congressional modification and judicial review. Some of the aspects that were removed during the discussions included the possibility of revoking Congress and the option of voting "Yes" or "No" as a whole.
The proposal as implemented was defeated at the polls on October 25 2003, and several leftwing candidates that expressed opposition gained electoral victories at the regional elections that took place the next day.
At least 25% of the electorate needed to participate in each of the referendum's 15 proposals in order for each individual result to be considered valid, but actual overall participation was only of 24.8% and only the first proposal ("political death for the corrupt") was able to achieve this (though all proposals were approved by a substantial majority of those that did vote). 
Analysts considered that the combination of these two events evidenced a political setback for Uribe, as one of his main campaign propositions had failed, despite the president's personal leadership. The "active abstention" and blank voting campaigns that his opponents, in particular the Independent Democratic Pole and the Colombian Liberal Party, had promoted were allegedly successful in convincing enough of their sympathizers to stay home and instead participate in the next day's round of elections. 
A number of Uribe's own supporters didn't participate either, as they found the referendum, which had been modified by Congress and later by the Judicial branch, to be too complex, long and uninspiring. Some also pointed out that extraordinary electoral initiatives (in other words, those voted independently outside standard electoral dates) have traditionally suffered complications in Colombia, including a lack of participation.
In September 2003, president Uribe had issued a speech that contained allegations against what he claims are "agents of terrorism" inside a minority of human rights organizations, while at the same time declaring that he respects criticism from most other established organizations and sources. Similar statements were later repeated in other instances. 
These statements have been sharply criticized both inside and outside Colombia because they could potentially endanger the work of human rights and opposition figures.  In light of this stance and his family's background as wealthy cattle ranchers, critics have made allegations of his past ties to narcotics traffickers and paramilitaries.
Also in 2003, contacts begun during the previous year with the paramilitary AUC forces and their leader Carlos Castaño Gil, which had publicly expressed their will to declare a cease-fire, continued amid a degree of national and international controversy around the matter.
See also: 2003-2004:_Initial_negotiation_efforts
In 2004, Uribe successfully sought a Congressional amendment to the Colombian Constitution which, after being reviewed by the Colombian Constitutional Court, would allow him to run for a second term as president (the Constitution of 1991 only allowed for one presidential term).
Uribe originally had expressed his disagreement with consecutive reelection during his campaign, but later changed his mind, first at a private level and later during public appearances.
Many analysts considered that, in order to secure the approval of this reform, Uribe may have slacked on his campaign promises, because of what has been perceived as his indirect bribing of congressmen, through the alleged assignment of their relatives to the diplomatic corps and through promises of investment in their regions of origin. Uribe's supporters consider that no actual bribing took place, and that a consensus among the diverse sectors that back Uribe's policies in Congress had to be reached through political negotiation.
See also: Late 2004: Demobilizations
After some of the AUC's main leaders had declared a cease-fire and agreed to concentrate in Santa Fé de Ralito , several paramilitary demobilizations began in earnest, with thousands of their "rank and file" fighters disarming and being incorporated into government rehabilitation programs towards the end of the year. The main AUC leaders, who would be responsible for atrocities, remained in the concentration zone and continued talks with the government's High Commissioner for Peace, Luis Carlos Restrepo. A number of the paramilitary members who initially demobilized in Medellín apparently did not actually belong to the AUC and this caused public concern. The AUC commanders claimed, as the year ended, that they had difficulties controlling all of their personnel from their isolated position, that they had already demobilized some 20% of their forces, and that they would await for the drafting of the necessary legal framework before making any more significant moves.
The year 2005 established itself as an electoral year, as both president Uribe and Colombia's congressmen began to set their sights on next year's round of elections (to be held in May and March 2006, respectively).
The FARC, which had been perceived as relatively passive by some, began to show signs of what analysts considered as renewed vigor during the month of February, through a series of attacks against small units of the Colombian military, which left at least three dozen casualties. Uribe stated in a speech that the FARC remain strong and had never retreated, while crediting Colombia's soldiers for their efforts in producing previous successes against their activities. He also stated that he considers the FARC to be cowards, because of their hurting civilian targets during their ambushes. 
There was also growing public anxiety regarding the negotiations with the AUC, due to the persisting discussions regarding the specifics of the legal provisions to adequately address the requirements of "justice, reparation and truth" that any full demobilization of the paramilitaries would imply. That the AUC's cease-fire, according to many observers, had not been fully effective and that paramilitary activity continued (albeit at a reduced rate) also was a cause for increasing concern in Colombian and international circles.
See also: 2005:_Legal_framework_and_controversy
Controversy and criticism
As president and as a politician, Álvaro Uribe has been a subject of controversy. Observers would note that there are signs of marked political polarization between his opponents and his supporters, both nationally and abroad.
Early political controversy
Critics of Álvaro Uribe that have investigated his background have opined that his father was murdered by the FARC in 1983 in part because of his personal relations with Fabio Ochoa , a known drug lord and eventual supporter of paramilitary groups. Some have suggested that Uribe's father also collaborated in these activities. Uribe himself and most of his supporters have denied any direct involvement with the drug trade, but allegedly they have not specifically addressed the nature of any previous relationship to the Ochoas and their associates.
His critics also claim that during Uribe's years as director of the Civil Aviation he did nothing to prevent drug dealers from acquiring licenses for the operation of airstrips and drug flights, and may have intentionally allowed them to do so. His supporters claim that actively preventing and prosecuting those activities was outside of his office's jurisdiction and was the responsibility of official law enforcement authorities.
Another frequent claim made by critics is that he was a personal friend of Pablo Escobar during his years as mayor of Medellín and as a congressional senator. Some of the critics also point out that he may have been involved in the drug business of the former, mainly through the reception of funds and passivity towards his activities, an accusation which has been strongly denied by Uribe himself, though he has yet to directly deny the apparent existence of a personal relationship between the two.
Other observers and his supporters would note that in his previous political positions during the 1980s and 1990s, including as mayor of Medellin, state senator, and governor of Antioquia, a limited passive acquaintance with the narcotics cartels would have been unavoidable for any politician who wished to actually govern without facing the consequences of cartel backlash: death, kidnapping or exile. It is also argued that allegations that senator Uribe fought against the extradition of drug traffickers should be taken in context - for numerous politicians argued that a partially conciliatory stance toward the immensely powerful cartels was necessary during the 1980s and early 1990s.
Uribe himself has claimed that he never argued against extradition per se, but was in favor of postponing a decision on the matter until after the next national elections in 1990, in order to limit any possible interference from the drug lords. Official statements from the president's office have subsequently stated that this position is available for consultation in the congressional archives for 1989 and in press reports.
As an example of this, it is mentioned that the Constituent Assembly of Colombia under Colombian president Cesar Gaviria banned the extradition of cartel members after the assassination of more than 50 police officers in Medellin, the bombing of the country's largest newspaper (El Tiempo), and the hijacking of a major international airliner. The M-19, a former leftwing guerrilla group that became a political party during the period, was opposed to extradition, as were (and are) the other guerrilla groups, because they tend to consider it as an undue interference of the U.S. (the main receptor of extradited Colombians) in the country's affairs.
Some of the critics tend to consider that his past support for the CONVIVIR would make him a de facto ally of paramilitary organizations, but no charge or specific evidence regarding this matter has ever been legally presented before any tribunal. Supportive observers have stated that Uribe considered the CONVIVIR to be a legal extension of programs successfully applied in other countries, such as Peru, though in Colombia it ultimately became flawed and evaded legal supervision.
Controversy around his policies
In contrast to these perceptions, some observers believe that his socioeconomic policies taken as a whole would be more centrist and mention that he has remained open to a negotiated end to the conflict, contingent upon the armed groups first declaring a cease-fire. He has made emphasis on not repeating the experience of the Caguan demilitarized zone that President Pastrana granted the FARC, which was arguably used by the guerrillas as their main operations base.
Uribe's strong support for anti-drug policy, through Plan Colombia, which includes aerial fumigation through the use of herbicide chemicals, has been considered as counter-productive by opponents of drug prohibition, which claim that it doesn't permanently eradicate coca crops and that it causes harmful effects on humans and the ecosystem, in addition to stimulating displacement.
Opposition organisations and critics, while acknowledging that some improvements have been made, consider that Uribe's primary focus on security results in an intransigent position regarding the resolution of Colombia's internal conflict, leaving aside the roots of Colombia's socio-economical concerns and politically dividing the public into supporters and critics of his persona (and of his second term reelection).  Some critics perceive that his administration has had a tendency to relatively disregard these concerns.
Uribe has not denied what many of these analysts would consider as the more profound elements of the conflict (such as poverty and political alienation or exclusion), and has expressed that some efforts at socio-economic reform are already being made, and that the continued creation of jobs through private and public investment, together with economic growth, will eventually be able to help address unemployment and poverty.
- Presidency of Colombia (Spanish)
- Colombian Presidential News
- Colombian Government Online (Spanish)
- BBC Profile: Alvaro Uribe Velez
- Human Rights Watch
- Center for International Policy - Colombia Program
- UN High Commissioner for Human Rights - Colombia 2005 Report (Spanish and English)
- Biografías de Líderes Políticos CIDOB - Álvaro Uribe Velez (Spanish)
- Washington Office on Latin America
- U.S. Official Rejects Drug Allegations Against Colombia's Uribe
- U.S. Intelligence Tied Colombia's Uribe to Drug Trade in '91 Report
- National Security Archive: 1991 intelligence
- 2004: Bush, Uribe Applaud Strength of U.S.-Colombia Partnership
- 2003 Remarks by President Bush and President Uribe
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details