HomeNewsAnalysisColombian Elections and the BACRIM Threat
ANALYSIS

Colombian Elections and the BACRIM Threat

AUC / 15 MAR 2011 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN

Colombia will hold elections for mayors, governors, state assemblies and city councilors in October. The approach of the local elections raises the perennial threat that the results could be influenced by the large and powerful criminal groups, known as the BACRIMs, which operate throughout the country.

The fears come amidst continuing accusations against and prosecutions of politicians for connections with the BACRIMs’ forefathers, the right-wing paramilitary groups.

Authorities recently charged thirteen politicians in Uraba, a northwestern region close to the border with Panama, with conspiracy and having had ties with the Elmer Cardenas Bloc, a former wing of the United Self-defense Forces of Colombia ( ‘Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia’ - AUC), El Espectador reported.

According to El Espectador, the former commander of the Elmer Cardenas Bloc, Freddy Rendon Herrera, alias ‘El Aleman,’ testified that the politicians’ electoral victories in 2002 and 2006, were due to paramilitary support.

Most of the AUC demobilized between 2004 and 2007. But remnants did not, and remain entrenched in organized crime, most notably in the 'Bandas Criminales' or BACRIMs, as they're known by the Colombian government.

The BACRIMs, authorities say, may be trying to influence October’s local elections. The head of Colombia’s National Registry, Carlos Ariel Sanchez, said that the criminal groups are trying to sabotage the elections by stuffing ballot boxes with the names of their pre-selected candidates.

“They are looking to alter the results to their favor as the ‘paras’ [AUC] did in 2002 and 2006,” Sanchez said, referring to previous elections.

Colombian officials have noticed an unusual increase in the number of registered ‘cedulas’ or identification cards, which are required to vote, in the Casanare and Meta departments, El Pais reported.

According to the same news report, officials say that 300 municipalities are in danger of BACRIM infiltration; 67 were called “high risk.” Regional authorities highlighted four municipalities, all known drug trafficking corridors and staging points.

Authorities have also mapped 111 locations where they believe the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (‘Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia’ - FARC) and the National Liberation Army (‘Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional’ · ELN) guerrillas could sabotage the elections.

The government has given assurances that it will limit the potentially result-altering influence of the criminal groups. Despite government promises, though, the track record of criminal organizations and their influence on elections pose significant concerns.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 29 JUL 2021

Colombia’s announcement of a large-scale military deployment to Norte de Santander, one of its most complex criminal hotspots, has thrust…

COLOMBIA / 1 NOV 2010

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made headlines Wednesday for making a frank comparison between Mexico's drug war and…

COLOMBIA / 14 MAR 2014

Police in Colombia report that FARC guerrillas and BACRIM groups are working together to mine gold in…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…