(Translated by Emily Schmitz, a CSN Volunteer Translator)
Some eighty congressional candidates of the Republic of Colombia elected this Sunday are either parapolitical heirs or are from sectors related to drug traffic or corruption, but the number may be greater. It is said that many candidates listed from both the Senate and the House were drawn up from the Picota jail, which imprisons some of those involved in the most well-known political scandals who, despite this, continue to exercise their influence through family, friends and political front men.
The parapolitical scene is present in almost all of the national territories and in almost all political parties, which could signify that neither the country nor the political parties have learned their lesson from the recent and constant headline-grabbing scandals.
Ariel Avila, one of the investigators of the Electoral Observation Mission (MOE), claims that the 2010 parapolitical agenda has two methods: parapolitical perpetrators or those accused of parapolitical activity either return to launch their candidacy or they participate in through proxies of wives, siblings, cousins or political front men.
The same investigator elaborated the hierarchy of the parties which have received these parapolitical heirs . In First place is the controversial National Integration Party (PIN) which has 19 of these candidates on their Senate list, while the official U Party has 13 ¨recycled parapoliticals.¨
The PIN Case
Parapolitical recycling has been the most intense in the PIN, the converted new name of the Citizen Convergence Party. According to political scientist Claudia Lopez, political observatory director of the Electoral Observation Mission (MOE), PIN received candidates from the Valle, Cauca, Magdalena, Santander, Casanare and Bolívar.
The candidates from Bolivar include Hector Julio Alfonso, the son of Enilce Lopez ¨The Cat,¨ who was processed for various charges. Alfonso renounced his seat in the house after the opening of the investigation against him in the Supreme Court. He now, however, returns as a Senate candidate.
The PIN list includes the figure Manuel Julian Mazeneth, sponsored by the condemned ex-governor from Magdalena Trino Luna, who continued to be a grand elector in a good part of the Atlantic coast and supports Senate and House candidates.
Viviana Vlele, niece of the condemned ex-Senator Vicente Vlele, and Hernando de la Espriella, brother of the ex-Senator Miguel from Espriella, make up part of the Senate PIN list. Dieb Maloof, condemned ex-Senator of Colombia Viva, has as a front man the politician Adriana from White Jesus.
Other ex-Senators committed to the parapoliticas have the following family in the PIN list: Raul Vives, the brother of Luis Eduardo Vives Locouture; Eduardo Carlos, the brother of Jairo Merlano; and Doris Vega Gil, the wife of Convergence founder Luis Alberto ´The one-eyed´ Gil.
Hugo Aguilar, the ex-Governor of Santander and another accomplice of Gil, has a son Mauricio who is a Senate candidate. Juan Carlos Martinez Sinisterra, the controversial cell remodeler in the Picota jail, has various candidates in distinct parts of the Senate and House and in the PIN has Julian Estrada in the Senate.
The authors, godchildren and front men of controversial personal ´support´ do not hesitate to publish their sponsorship and do so publicly and evidently before potential voters.
The Liberal Aperture case
This movement was created by Miguel Angel Florez, condemned for another celebrated scandal: the ´pomaricazo´, where several million pesos were stolen from the House of Representatives at the end of the previous century.
Four years ago this association conceived an alliance known as the David Murcia Guzmán group. DMG received ´The Cat´ and other parapoliticals recycled from the Conservative party, and the brother of the extradited DMG head, Cristian Fredy Murcia, now heads the Senate list.
The National Electoral Council blocked the augmentation of the Liberal Aperture through the name of DMG, but its candidates, including the now inscribed Presidential candidate, continue utilizing it and defend DMG.
The movement inscribed 100 mostly unknown candidates to the Senate. Within these lie some of the money collectors whose names remain held in reserve before a penal investigation.
The U Party Case
The official U Party is one of the groups most affected by parapolitics. According to Claudia Lopez ,there are ´emblematic´ cases, such as that of the Senator Piedad Zucardi, wife of Juan Jose Garcia. Senator Zucardi has been investigated in the Supreme Court and condemned for corruption. Senator Zucardi is also the sister-in-law of Álvaro García Romero ´The Fat´, who was condemned to 40 years in prison for paramilitary involvement, homicide and participation in the Macayepo massacre.
In addition, the sister of Fat García, Teresa García Romero, who was consul in the current government in Germany, is Senate candidate for the controversial PIN.
Apart from the sister-in-law of alias ´The Fat´ García romero, the U has various candidates investigated for parapolitics. Among these are Armando Benedetti, Dilian Francisco Toro, Mauricio Lizcano, Jorge Visbal Martelo (who renounced his seat and returned to aspire), Mussa Besaile, Manuel Guillermo Mora and Pedro Pablo Trujillo.
However the U Party also has parapoliticians who are acting by proxy: Astrid Sanchez Montes from Oca, sister of Odin Sanchez, was detained both for parapolitics as well as ELN Politics. Montes also fixed the referendum vote on the reelection. Odín and his family, including the current governor of Chocó, have been mentioned in different corrupt acts in this department.
Mrs. Martiza Martinez, the wife of the investigated Senator Luis Carlos Torres de Meta, who resigned through the investigation in the Supreme Court, also appeared as a U candidate. Her campaign has been linked to rivers of money which circulate not only in Meta but in Casanare and other regions of Orinoquia, without explaining the origins of so many resources.
Also appearing in the Senatorial list of the U is Jairo de Jesus Rapias Ospina, one of the solicitors of the interview with alias ‘Job in the House of Nariño’. He was from Radical Change and is the brother of Gustavo Tapias, one of the ´12 of the scaffold´ close to Pablo Escobar as well as the ´Pepes,´ who were pardoned in exchange for mafia information.
Among others questioned in the U Party is Carlos Alberto Jaramillo, the man who lent in the money triangle between Colombia First and the reelection referendum promoters. Investigations have been launched regarding all of the anomalies in the fallen referendum. If the referendum is passed, the investigations would be passed on to the Supreme Court of Justice.
In the Conservative Party
Also affected by parapolitics, and inspite of the purges it has recently realized, the Conservative Party has the most talked about national scandals in their lists of heirs. According to the MOE map, Senator Carlos Barriga, arriving from City Convergence, had a previous parapolitical investigation. By proxy, the Conservatives have Sammy Merheg, brother of Habib Merheg, who renounced his seat after opening investigations in the Supreme Court.
Also in this list is Martha Curi, the daughter of Nicolas Curi, ex-Mayor of Cartegena. Curi has been linked to corruption scandals. The candidate is the wife of William Montes, who is also linked with parapolitics but was absolved by a judge after renouncing his seat. Another Conservative candidate is Olga Suarez Mira, ex-Mayor of Bello, Antioquia, mentioned for links with paramilitary sectors. Mira is the sister of Oscar Suarez Mira who, after Supreme Court investigations, renounced his seat. Oscar Suarez has been recorded to have passed, four years ago, from being the chauffeur of the mayor of Bello to one of the people with the greatest votes in Antioquia.
In Radical Change
This party is also mentioned to have candidates affiliated with parapolitics, starting with Senator Antonio Guerra de Espriella, who has preliminary investigations in the Supreme Court of Justice.
In the MOE report Pedro Antonio Aguirre is mentioned as a candidate affiliated with ex-Senator Miguel Pinedo Vidal. Aguirre is currently under parole and waiting to be called to court.
Claudia Lopez has two other acknowledgments in the case of Radical Change: Javier Caceres, the current Congressional President (involved in the alleged Etesa company scandal and investigated for parapolitics), and Daira Galvis, who arrived to the Senate as a substitute for ´One-eyed Gil´ after his detention. Galvis has admitted that she served as a lawyer for ´The Cat´.
In the Liberal Party
In the Liberal Party the case most often mentioned is that of Arleth Casado, the wife of ex-Senator Juan Manuel Lopez Cabrales, condemned for parapolitics. Claudia Lopez mentioned, ‘Hopefully Ms. Arleth says yes, like her husband, and will negotiate governmental secretaries of Cordoba with Mancuso paramilitaries´.
Also included in the MOE liberal list is Ángel Gabriel Conde, brother of Jose María Conde, and object of preliminary investigation in the Supreme Court of Justice.
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