- Why did you actively obstruct the extradition of Jesus Santrich to the United States after a federal grand jury, made up of ordinary U.S. citizens operating under judicial independence, returned an indictment of Santrich for serious criminal activities?
In his first question to Senator Iván Cepeda, the principal ally of the FARC in Colombia, former Rep. Connie Mack asks why he led a relentless campaign to block the extradition of Jesus Santrich to the United States for crimes detailed in a grand jury indictment on April 10, 2018.
It is a fitting question for the American people to ask Cepeda, because the public record of his statements and actions on this question is contradictory and troubling.
Here is the timeline of events at the heart of this question by Rep. Connie Mack to Iván Cepeda:
May 6, 2018 – Ivan Cepeda tweets story from El Espectador calling on Santrich to be judged in Colombia and not the United States, despite the fact that a U.S. grand jury has indicted him under due process.
May 7, 2018 – Ivan Cepeda pens letter to Santrich saying the accusations from the United States are a moral affront. “Never give up,” Cepeda writes to Santrich.
December 5, 2018 – Cepeda’s Peace Commission says Santrich “cannot be extradited” because the victims of the FARC would be disrespected. At no time in his public discourse to that point in the case had Cepeda voiced solidarity with Santrich’s victims. (RCN coverage: https://t.co/9BxSoXda0m?amp=1)
December 21, 2018 – Cepeda tweets his support for blocking Santrich’s extradition and ensuring that Ivan Marquez is reincorporated into society. He demands blanket protection for Santrich as an “ex-guerrilla” despite having been indicted by a grand jury in New York for crimes committed AFTER the peace deal.
March 6, 2019 – Cepeda tweets that “not a single piece of evidence” has been presented about Santrich being extradited and that the entire affair is a conspiracy against the peace deal. He once again ignores that Interpol had issued a Red Notice in April 2018 because a U.S. grand jury had indicted Santrich for crimes against the people of the United States.
April 12, 2019 – Cepeda continues to publicly promote a conspiracy theory involving the U.S. government in a plot against him, Santrich and the peace deal. The FARC ally still refuses to acknowledge that a grand jury of ordinary U.S. citizens returned an indictment one year before against Santrich.
May 17, 2019 – Cepeda tweets that some kind of “dictatorial break in the constitutional order” is about to happen in Colombia as part of his increasingly bizarre conspiracy theory around the Santrich indictment. One hour later, he again states: “I stand in solidarity with Jesus Santrich”.
June 13, 2019 – Santrich goes into the Colombian Congress in triumph over the U.S. grand jury in New York, calling himself “politically persecuted” and a “victim.” Cepeda welcomes him in a floor speech in which he angrily attacks all who have advocated for compliance with the Interpol Red Notice and extradition to face the charges in the Southern District of New York. Both Santrich and Cepeda promise that the FARC leader will “respond to the pertinent institutions.” (As subsequent events show, neither is telling the truth.)
July 5, 2019 – Cepeda tweets he does not regret his actions in Santrich’s case one bit.
August 29, 2019 – Nearly three months to the day that Cepeda escorted him from detention, Jesus Santrich joins Ivan Marquez at a jungle guerrilla camp to announce by video they are resuming their terrorist war against the democratic government of Colombia.
When will Cepeda answer this question? How could the unanimous decision of a federal grand jury in the United States, made up of American citizens selected at random for public duty, be part of a political conspiracy against him and his FARC allies?
It’s time for answers. #CepedaResponda