Monday, May 14, 2012

Colombia: Prosecutors Crackdown on “Para-Politics” Figures

The FARC’s deadly ambush on a police post and the kidnapping of French journalist Romeo Langlois have served as the latest examples of the barbarism committed by Latin America’s oldest-existing guerillas. But Colombia’s long-running civil conflict runs far deeper than military actions against the state and has embedded itself in the world of Colombian politics.

Case in point is the recent actions related to the “para-politics” scandal where local and federal legislators have been accused of collaborating with illegal paramilitary groups. Since Sunday the Prosecutor General's office have arrested at least a dozen politicians from the Magdalena valley over their alleged ties to paramilitaries.

Investigators have yet to reveal exact names but it’s believed that the accused are part of a list of sixty wanted officials including former and current mayors, governors and legislators.

According to Colombia Reports, the supposedly corrupt politicos made devilish deals in order to receive electoral support:
In the Chivolo Pact, which was signed by more than 400 leaders in the village of La Estrella on September 28, 2000, local leaders aligned with extradited paramilitary leader Rodrigo Tovar Pupo, alias "Jorge 40" in order to receive his electoral "blessing."

In the Pivijay Pact, another group of politicians joined forces with Jorge 40 in order to receive support and votes for the 2002 congressional campaigns of Jose Gamarra, Dieb Maloof, Jorge Castro and Gustavo Orozco. The pact was signed in the municipality of Pivijay, Magdalena department on November 22, 2001.
Over the past few years the “para-politics” scandal has implicated hundreds of politicians including the cousin of then-President Alvaro Uribe and the brother of former Foreign Minister Maria Consuelo Araujo.

Video Source – YouTube via valleduparnoticias7 (Rodrigo Tovar Pupo, alias "Jorge 40", was extradited to the U.S. and sentenced to twenty-six years in prison).

Online Sources – The Guardian, BBC News, Colombia Reports, Huffington Post, El Colombiano, El Espectador

No comments: