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Assassins Target Uribe in Argentina

May 22, 2012

A week after former Colombian interior minister Fernando Londono survived what appeared to be an assassination attempt against him, his former boss, ex-President Alvaro Uribe, was similarly targeted for death Argentina.  This afternoon,  police officers “defused a bomb discovered in the ceiling of a Buenos Aires theater…and authorities said it was timed to explode during an appearance there by…Uribe.”  The Associated Press described the situation:

The bomb was hidden inside the power supply for a ceiling light in the second floor of the Gran Rex theater. It was attached to a cellphone with an alarm set for 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, just when Uribe would have joined a post-speech cocktail with business executives and other important guests, investigative Judge Norberto Oyarbide said…Uribe, who served as Colombia’s president in 2002-10, had been invited to speak about his country’s transformation as part of a symposium for executives organized by WOM-Latam, a private company that organizes leadership seminars and sold tickets to the cocktail party for more than $500 each.

Uribe’s highly controversial approach to fighting former leftist guerillas-turned-drug traffickers has made him a popular target for protest most everywhere he goes.  His visit to Argentina this week to address the WOM Leadership Symposium on business management was expected to be no different, with activists gearing up to protest the former Colombian’s presence in the capital. Nor is Uribe a stranger to assassination plots: he’s survived at least three.*  The fact that this attempt on Uribe’s life took place not in Colombia but at the opposite end of the continent, however, comes as something of a surprise.

Conspiracy theories have already emerged accusing both the FARC as well as hardline conservative members of Uribe’s own inner circle of planning Uribe’s murder.  Thus far, no one has claimed responsibility, but the former president has announced his intention to appear tomorrow evening in Buenos Aires  as originally scheduled.

*  In my original rendering of the this post, I noted that Uribe’s father’s had been assassinated as well, as goes the popular tale. Adriaan Alsema, who directs some of the best English-language reporting on Colombia available anywhere, corrected me by noting that Uribe’s father had been killed either during a botched kidnapping or, given his own criminality, in a drug deal gone bad.  Here’s El Mundo‘s original report at the time.

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