Two days ago, on December 9, 2013, Colombia’s Procurador General ( Inspector General), Alejandro Ordoñez declared that Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro must leave his office as Mayor and will not be able to occupy public office for the next 15 years. The reason he gave: Mayor Petro had interfered with private enterprise when he made garbage hauling in Bogota a city-owned and operated function. There was no description of ilegal acts by Mayor Petro, not any charge that he had benefited personally financially by his actions as Mayor of Colombia’s largest city, with a population of about 8 million people. Evidence shows that Ordoñez’s dismissal of Petro had been planned in advance by arch-conservative political figures.
Gustavo Petro was a member of the M-19 guerrillas who demobilized and ran for public office. He was elected to the Colombian Congress and 2 years ago ran succesfully for Mayor of Bogota. His program as Mayor has improved greatly health and education services for the poor. His administration has supported women’ s rights, attention for elderly persons and persons displaced by the armed conflict, and for the LGBT community. He has encouraged cultural activities and oversaw the development of a first-class local public television station. Mayor Petro sought to reorganize garbage colection in Bogota. His plan included incorporating as workers people living off recycling activities.
The office of Procurador investigates public employees and can sanction them for illegal acts with removal from public office and other penalties. Procurador Ordoñez is a very conservative person, displaying a rigid ultra -right Catholicism. He is not a judge and has never been popularly elected to political office. Mayor Petro’s dismissal by Procurador Ordoñez raises very serious doubts about the feasibility of demobilized guerrillas entering the political process with sufficient guarantees for their effective participation.
Please write to :
President Juan Manuel Santos at email@example.com
and ask him to respect the popular vote and give effect to the international legal principle that a popularly elected official, such as Mayor Petro, can only be removed from office by a judge following an established legal procedure.
Also indicate to him that the intemperate decision by Mr. Ordoñez undermines the efforts being made by him to arrive at a peace agreement which will effectively protect ex-guerrillas’ rights to seek and hold public office
Please send a copy to Procurador Alejandro Ordoñez: firstname.lastname@example.org
And to Mayor Gustavo Petro : email@example.com
And send copies to your respective Members of Congress in the US.
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Colombia Support Network
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Phone: (608) 257-8753
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