"The current president was governor at that time and he did nothing to stop the paramilitary monster."

 

Petro has said that many other high officials and politicians also had links to the country's paramilitary groups that have committed the worst atrocities during two decades of fighting against leftist guerillas.

 

In an exclusive interview with Mariana Sanchez, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Colombia, Francisco Santos, the vice president of Colombia, said Uribe said Uribe has nothing to hide.

 

"We're not scared of the debate we don't run away from the debate," he said.

 

"We think it's an opportunity to show exactly what president Uribe did in his security during the governorship in Antioquia – we're not worried about that."

 

Suspect list

 

Petro has said that he will present Colombia's congress with a list of more than 2,000 names suspected of being involved n the paramilitary in Antioquia, among them members of the military, businessmen and even priests.

 

Since 2006, eleven congressmen have been imprisoned, exposing the relationship between politicians and paramilitaries.

 

Petro will present congress with a list of people
with suspected links to the paramilitaries [AP]
 
Seven years ago a top paramilitary leader boasted that 30 per cent of the Congress was in the pockets of the paramilitary.

 

The supreme court and the attorney general are now investigating more than 70 congressmen.

 

The accusations have reached the heights of Uribe's government.

 

Maria Consuelo Araujo, the foreign minister, had to resign her post because her brother was one of the senators arrested.

 

Investigators have also begun investigating members of the military and businessmen suspected of having supported the paramilitary forces.