Police Defuse Bomb in Theater before Colombia Ex-President's Talk

Authorities in Buenos Aires, Argentina, found an explosive on Tuesday in a theater where former president of Colombia Alvaro Uribe was scheduled to give a talk.

The bomb, which could have been activated with a cellphone, was hidden inside the power supply for a ceiling light in the second floor of the Gran Rex theater, just where Uribe was expected to join a post-speech cocktail with business executives and other high-paying guests, according to Carlos Leiva, a secretary to judge Norberto Oyarbide, who is investigating the case.

“The police are still deactivating the artifact, but there is no risk of explosion,” Leiva told The Associated Press.

"It's a simple device, but enough to kill people who get near it," Oyarbide said, according to Argentine daily Clarín.

Uribe, a popular conservative in a region dominated by left-wing leaders, took a hard line against leftist rebels, leading to significant security gains. But human rights activists blame him for unlawful killings by the military and for making peace with far-right militias who committed thousands of murders.

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Earlier this week, a coalition of leftists and Colombians living in Argentina said the symposium’s organizers were falsely presenting Uribe as a great peacemaker who made Colombia highly attractive to foreign investment, and accused him of committing “the most atrocious crimes.”

Uribe’s close call comes just a week after an unsuccessful assassination attempt against his former interior minister, Fernando Londoño, who was injured in a car bomb attack in Bogotá, Colombia, on May 15. The bomb blast killed two of Londoño’s bodyguards and injured more than 30 people.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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