In a column in Colombian newspaper La Semana, journalist and comedian Daniel Samper launched a vicious attack on the Colombian state of Antioquia and ex-Colombian President Álvaro Uribe. Uribe retaliated with an equally scathing attack, one that has drawn both critics and defenders. Samper, the nephew of former Liberal party Colombian president Ernesto Samper, has received support from candidates from the country’s Liberal parties, including Gustavo Petro, as well as FLIP, a Colombian foundation dedicated to press freedom.
Ex-President Uribe responded in his own words. We have translated his text into English so that our readers can make their own decision, with minor adjustments to account for Spanish to English grammar. The original Spanish version can be found on-line by clicking here.
Defamed by Daniel Samper Ospina (by Álvaro Uribe Vélez)
“The attack was on my family, colleagues and myself. He referenced Antioquia. He disrespected a 3-month-old girl and her family. He engaged in child pornography. He violated the rights of women. He mocked people’s physical defects. And he used press freedom, satire and humor, to provide support and cover for these activities. He used my government and the press.
I won’t refer to the permanent defamations of Daniel Samper Ospina against my family, colleagues, and myself (translator’s note: Uribe implies doing so is not necessary)
As President of the Republic I concerned myself with equal treatment of all the regions of Colombia. It’s more than enough reason to dismiss the document that, with the presence of dissimulated references to myself, offends Antioquia, a citizenship which is as respectable as any other within our country. In addition to this, we also add the recent abuse of Antioquia by Santos’ government. (translator’s note: he is likely referring to the cession of territory from Antioquia to Chocó last month)
The forenamed journalist mistreated a three-month-old girl, associated her name with illegal drugs and also infringed upon her mother’s honor and the rest of her family’s honor.
In Soho Magazine, this journalist, in which he was director, published child pornography, in some cases to attack a priest, but in other cases he published underaged naked girls. His obscene, stigmatizing, disrespectful and indecorous references to the women he used as models, are known.
Both the criminal code, and the Code for Children and Adolescents, penalize the violation of the rights of minors with imprisonment. Article 18 of the latter code considers that the risk and damage derived from the physical violation of a minor is as severe as psychological abuse, as the consequences could show up later in their lives.
The violation of the rights of minors, which this journalist has committed due to the nature of his actions, even aside from the law should be understood as an ethical issue. He attacks both family and society, apart from moral connotations that offend many people’s principles.
This journalist, Samper Ospina, defines humor by mocking people’s physical defects.
Press freedom, including humor and satire, does not allow for the violation of the rights of minors, nor of women. It also does not allow offending of a group of citizens from a region in Colombia.
It is a series matter when freedom of the press, a right protected by the government, is used to launch attacks without justification, unjustly stereotype or to allow for blind solidarity and favoritism.
When I was the President of the Republic, I had discussions with journalists, but I never suborned them, nor did I tried to silence them with persecution.”