2. What contacts and communications have you had with Jesus Santrich since you publicly escorted him from Colombian custody on May 30, 2019? Are you still in contact with him, directly or through intermediaries?
In his second question to Senator Iván Cepeda, the principal ally of the FARC in Colombia, former Rep. Connie Mack asks about the communications Cepeda has had with the Jesus Santrich, now a fugitive from justice. Between May 30, 2019 – when Cepeda escorted Santrich in triumph from jail – through August 30, 2019 when Santrich announced his resumption of terrorist war on democracy, and to the present day, no one knows the extent of contacts and communications between the two close allies.
This is a critical question for Cepeda to answer from the perspective of U.S. justice, because it will help clear up the lingering questions about whether he was an accomplice to Santrich’s escape. It goes to the heart of the question: what did Cepeda know, and when did he know it? It is a simple question to answer, but Cepeda has refused.
It is particularly important to know Cepeda’s answer in relation to the specific criminal indictments now in force against Jesus Santrich in the Southern District of New York. Here is why:
- GRAND JURY EVIDENCE: The detailed material evidence presented to the U.S. grand jury of ordinary citizens in New York showed that Jesus Santrich was in an active conspiracy dating from at least 2003 until the present day with the Venezuelan regime and the Cartel de los Soles to produce and traffic thousands of tons of cocaine as part of a scheme to obtain sophisticated machine guns for the FARC’s armed guerrillas. The evidence included recordings of Santrich actively plotting drug trafficking activity in 2017, after the peace deal.
- COORDINATED PROMISES: Cepeda and Santrich had full alignment in their public statements throughout the campaign to obtain Santrich’s release from Colombian jail and to prevent his extradition to the United States. The coordinated promise was that Santrich’s arrest for extradition was technically wrong, fruit of a political conspiracy, and that Santrich would certainly “respond to the pertinent institutions” in Colombia. The reality was the complete reverse: Santrich was indicted by a grand jury of ordinary citizens in New York (none of whom had any connection to Colombia or politics) and Santrich never responded to the pertinent institutions – he fled.
- THE 2020 PHOTO FROM THE JUNGLE: After Santrich mocked the rule of law and the hollow promises of “peace” with his flight from justice in 2019, the FARC issued a statement on September 29, 2020, threatening the democratic government of Colombia. It was accompanied by a photo showing a smiling Jesus Santrich with his guerrilla comrades holding sophisticated machine guns in their hands – the same weapons at the heart of the criminal conspiracy detailed in the U.S. indictment. It is also noted in the indictment that all indications are that the FARC guerrillas are presently in Venezuela, under the protection of their co-conspirators.
Why can’t Cepeda answer as to what communications he had with Santrich between May 30 and August 29, 2019? Don’t his constituents at least deserve to know beyond any doubt that their senator played no role whatsoever in his flight from U.S. justice? The American people certainly deserve to know, given that they were victims of Santrich’s crimes in the indictment and have the right to justice.
Without Cepeda’s public answers, this is the timeline of what we do know:
July 2, 2019: Questions arise about Santrich’s whereabouts as a court date awaits before the Supreme Court of Justice on July 9. For more than a year, Cepeda had sworn to the public that Santrich would “respond to the pertinent institutions” in his campaign to free him.
July 5, 2019: Cepeda tweets he does not regret any of his actions in the Santrich case.
July 8, 2019: One day before Santrich is to show up in court, Caracol news service asks Iván Cepeda to comment. Cepeda says: “I have no information on Santrich and it’s very serious if he doesn’t appear. I will take this opportunity to call on Santrich to appear before the Supreme Court because he has many responsibilities” – and then complained about some new conspiracy against the peace deal. Cepeda never clarified if he had been in communication with Santrich privately or not between their appearance in the Colombian Congress on June 13 and that moment.
July 9, 2019: Santrich fails to appear before the Supreme Court of Justice.
July 29, 2019: Santrich fails to appear before the Special Jurisdiction for Peace court. Such defenders of peace and truth and Santrich failed to show up to the tribunal he created in the peace deal to tell the truth, the centerpiece of Cepeda’s campaign to free him.
Santrich’s mocking of the rule of law was confirmed on August 30 with the infamous video of from the jungle.
When will Cepeda answer this question? Why is the truth so elusive for a political activist who claims to care only about the truth?
We’re waiting for the answer. #CepedaResponda