Semana, September 21, 2019

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)


At a cost of more than 2,500,000,000 pesos (roughly USD $833,000) every day, nearly 7,400 Colombians have bodyguards. Among those, more than 500 are candidates in the upcoming elections.

Pablo Elías González, Director of the National Protection Unit (UNP in Spanish), says that in October, 3,000 applications could arrive from candidates at risk. “In the next 72 hours we have to catch up with all of the applications we have received up to this date.” That was President Iván Duque’s order when he set the deadline on September 16 requiring the agency to deliver protection plans, vehicles, and bodyguards for more than 500 candidates for Governor and Mayor.

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The President made his announcement in the midst of the worry generated in recent weeks by the murder of seven candidates in several regions of the country and by the increase in threats against dozens of candidates for offices to be chosen in the October elections.  On the deadline set by President Duque, the UNP had accomplished the delivery of plans for 565 candidates in 130 different parties. “But now another 1,100 new petitions have arrived from candidates asking for plans; in the first place we will have to ask the parties for help so they themselves can tell us—they know their candidates and their regions—what is most relevant and most urgent. There are 117,000 candidates, and obviously we can’t protect all of them,” explained the UNP director to Semana.

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