A former Colombian official defended Hillary Clinton this week from allegations that cash from a Colombian oil conglomerate influenced a U.S. State Department policy while Clinton ran that department. But her defender, Gabriel Silva, didn't mention the benefit he derived from that policy.
Running for president in 2008, Clinton opposed a trade pact with Colombia. Once she became secretary of state, though, she switched her position and supported the deal. During those years, tens of millions of dollars flowed into her family's foundation from oil giant Pacific Rubiales and the company’s founder, Frank Giustra. Clinton's State Department received reports that the Colombian military was involved in the violent suppression of Pacific Rubiales workers who were trying to unionize. Still, as International Business Times reported and the newly published book “Clinton Cash” has amplified, Clinton continued to back the trade deal and the State Department, which she ran, certified Colombia’s human rights record. That decision allowed American aid to flow to the Colombian military, which was helping protect Pacific Rubiales' pipelines.
Silva told CNN that in his role as Colombia's ambassador to the U.S. at the time the trade deal was ratified, "I saw no evidence that any part of the treaty was impacted by any contribution made to the Clinton Foundation or any other group in the United States.”
By the time the aid -- backed by the State Department Clinton headed -- went through, Silva was the head of the military; he served as Colombian minister of defense from 2009 to 2010. Had the State Department that Clinton ran not granted the human rights certification, Silva’s military would have been denied more than $65 million in funds.
The State Department declined to provide IBTimes with the names of sources or evidence used to determine that the Colombian military was in compliance with the human rights goals set out by Congress.
IBTimes was unable to reach Silva for comment.