By Yohir Akerman, EL ESPECTADOR, June 21, 2020

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

Today it’s clear that the drug war policy of Iván Duque’s government has failed. Not only because of all of the problems with the minimally productive and very damaging campaign of aerial fumigation with glyphosate, but also because drug trafficking is a scandal that has slipped into the belly of his administration.

On July 9, 2018, then-President-elect Duque told the public: “I want to be clear. If we want peace in Colombia we will have to take down the drug traffickers. And starting with the first day of our government I will be exercising my authority as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces so that in Colombian territory, we will defeat those who want to keep on with the drug trafficking organizations.”

That, without mentioning that the President undertook a crash program with the slogan “He who does the crime will do the time.” So now we are seeing some events of this year where those that did the crime have not yet done the time.

On February 12 we learned that there was a search by the drug police at the ranch of the then-Colombian Ambassador to Uruguay, Fernando Sanclemente Alzate, inspecting cellars, stables, and offices. In a high area of the ranch they found a complete drug processing laboratory.

The Attorney General’s Specialized Office of Asset Recovery obtained a preliminary injunction for attachment of the property and suspension of the power to dispose of four parcels and two vehicles belonging to the Las Colinas de Guasca Society, an entity of which Mr. Ambassador Sanclemente Alzate was a member and was its legal representative.

The scandal passed unnoticed, and the whole thing was taken care of when he simply resigned as Ambassador.

A few days later, on March 3, the journalist Gonzalo Guillén exposed the scandal known as “Ñeñe Politics”.

Audios between José Ñeñe HernándezAponte, a cattle rancher and the political arm of the criminal organization of Marquitos Figueroa, and María Claudia Caya Daza, then a legislative assistant of Senator Álvaro Uribe Vélez, where they were talking about a vote-buying operation on the northern coast for now-President Iván Duque. Another story that continues without any resolution, much less any punishment.

On April 4, the journalist María Jimena Duzán revealed a previously unreleased telephone conversation between the woman who had been the private secretary of Álvaro Uribe Vélez and Goyo Hernández, Ñeñe’s brother. In the recording, it was clear that Goyo played an active role as an operative, decision-maker, and financier in the Duque election campaign, under the table.

In the course of the dialog, Goyo recommends to Cayita that she connect the Duque campaign with some people tied up with crime, such as the conservative Tina Soto of Barrancas (La Guajira Province), a cousin of Marquitos Figueroa, or with Rosa Valdeblánquez, the daughter of the paramilitary and drug trafficker from the Medellín cartel, Gervasio Valdeblánquez Ipuana.

While the investigation has already captured the Dijín[1] agents that legally intercepted Ñeñe and his brother, nothing has happened to the people that were mentioned in the scandal.

So here the slogan ought to be “The one who finds out about it is the one that pays the price.”

Later, on April 7, the site InSight Crime published a report that mentions alleged business done by Álvaro Rincón, husband of Vice President Marta Lucia Ramírez, with the alleged drug trafficker Guillermo León Acevedo, alias Memo Fantasma.

According to the study by InSight Crime, Rincón and Ramírez are the owners of the Hitos Urbanos Company that built a real estate project on a lot purchased by the family of the alleged drug trafficker. In a communication issued by the real estate project, it’s pointed out that Memo Fantasma presented himself “as a person dedicated to the cattle ranching sector who was interested in investing in real estate.”

In these cases, just as with the investigators, they’re going after the journalists, instead of looking at the events that have been criticized.

In the very same month, on April 24, we learned that the Notary relied on by the alleged drug trafficker Guillermo León Acevedo Giraldo, alias Memo Fantasma, is Sr. Jorge Humberto Uribe Escobar, who is, no more and no less, a cousin of former President Uribe Vélez and the brother of former Senator Mario Uribe Escobar, who was convicted of paramilitarism by the Supreme Court of Justice in 2011.

Jorge Humberto Uribe Escobar, who is Notary 24 in Bogotá, is remembered because in 2008 his reputation was wiped clean by means of a controversial decree by then-Minister of the Interior, Carlos Holguín Sardi, who expunged two punishments that had suspended him from office for not paying taxes in the amount of 9,600 million pesos (about USD 2.5 million).

As a reward, he obtained the position of Notary 24 thanks to the fact that his brother Mario Uribe Escobar was in control of the Office of Supervision of Notaries and Registry, through his political connections, among them his cousin Uribe Vélez.

Finally, last week it was learned that in 1997 the brother of the Vice President of Colombia had been arrested in the United States and sentenced to four years and nine months in prison for trafficking heroin.

Even though it’s clear that the Vice President ought not to have to pay for her family’s mistakes, it’s also evident that Colombians had a right to know that; above all with a government that was elected carrying the flag of the war on drug trafficking, according to Ramirez’ own words on May 21, 2018, in the midst of the campaign: “There aren’t any good drug traffickers or bad drug traffickers, they’re all bad and we have to condemn them.”

But this government needs to do that in-house.

[1] Directorate of the Judicial Police and Intelligence

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