Handy Colombian voters’ guide links candidates to paramilitaries, gangs, guerrillas
A handy Colombian voters´guide links candidates in Sunday´s congressional election to a variety of armed, illegal organizations.
Verdadabierta.com released a list today of 35 congressional candidates and close relatives Thursday who have been investigated by the Supreme Court for connections to illegal groups, including paramilitary, organized crime and guerrillas.
The list limits itself to those candidates – or those with immediate family members or close associates – investigated by the Supreme Court. A convenient drop-down menu shows what illegal paramilitary, organized crime or guerrilla organization the candidate was linked to and the result of the investigation.
Another organization the Fundación Paz y Reconciliación released a larger list earlier this week that included candidates investigated or questioned about their connections with illegal groups.
The list published today confirms that the Colombia´s two traditional parties, the Liberals and Conservatives, along with two other parties la U, and Cambio Radical have the most connections with armed, illegal groups.
National paramilitary leader Vicente Castaño claimed in 2005 that the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia that “the paramilitary groups that more than 35 per cent of the members of the Colombian Congress were “friends” of the paramilitaries.
Colombian politics have long been plagued by links to drug traffickers, guerrillas, and old-fashioned organized crime.
In June 2005, Vicente Castaño, national leader of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) paramilitaries asserted more than 35 per cent of the country´s congressional members were “friends” of the paramilitaries.
The paramilitaries went so far as to sign a secret agreement in 2001 with many politicians which called for a paramilitary takeover of Colombia, starting in the Atlantic region then later, the entire nation.
The “Pact of Ralito” as the agreement was known was eventually exposed and led to a Supreme Court investigation and many arrests and convictions.
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