On Tuesday, as darkness fell, Colombians from all over the capital, Bogota, came out of the windows to shout and bang pots to celebrate the detention of Mr. Uribe.
But in Medellín, a Uribe stronghold, hundreds of supporters gathered to show their support. “He has given us security like no other president has,” said Catalina Pozada, 42, who credited the former president for forcing one of the country’s guerrilla groups to stop kidnappings and highway blocks.
The court’s decision could also affect the current president, Mr. Duque, whose popularity waned during his first year in office, until he took a hit for his handling of the pandemic. His supporters on the right could turn against him for not doing more to keep his mentor free, while critics on the left could use Mr. Uribe̵
Mr. Duque defended his mentor on Tuesday, saying the former president embodied “honor”. Speaking to a national radio station, Mr. Duque said that the idea that Mr. Uribe would be aligned with paramilitary groups was “absurd”.
The case is one of several Supreme Court investigations into Mr. Uribe over the years.
The investigation came after Mr. Uribe accused a political opponent, Senator Iván Cepeda, of manipulating witnesses against him, leading to an investigation into Mr. Cepeda. That investigation was closed in 2018 and the court decided instead to proceed with the investigation of Mr. Uribe for alleged bribery of a witness and procedural fraud.
“This is a major shift towards strengthening democracy,” Cepeda said. “Colombia has been a country with monarchical tendencies in which some political figures are untouchable. Well, here there can be no one above the constitution, above the law and above justice “.
Jenny Carolina González contributed to the Bogotá reporting and Megan Janetsky contributed to the Medellín reporting.