HomeNewsBrief140 Political Candidates in Colombia With Criminal Links: Report
BRIEF

140 Political Candidates in Colombia With Criminal Links: Report

AUC / 7 JUL 2015 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

A forthcoming report by a prominent Colombian NGO says at least 140 candidates running for political office in Colombia have criminal ties -- including links to paramilitary and organized crime groups -- a troubling indication of the enduring bonds between politicians and criminal organizations in the country.

A summary of the report, written by a researcher for the Colombian non-governmental organization Peace and Reconciliation and published in El Espectador, categorizes the candidates with criminal links into four groups: 1) candidates with ties to paramilitary groups; 2) candidates with ties to organized crime groups; 3) incumbents convicted or under investigation for mismanagement of public funds or other violations of the law; 4) candidates linked to government contractors involved in the embezzlement of public funds. (See here -- pdf -- the full list of the 140 candidates) Colombia's local and regional elections will be held in October. 

The report found the candidates were distributed among 19 departments across Colombia, with Sucre (30) and Antioquia (26) registering the highest number of political hopefuls with criminal ties. (See El Espectador's graph below) Seventy-eight percent of these candidates have a high probability of winning office, the report says. The author of the report, Ariel Avila Martinez, told InSight Crime this figure was calculated using preliminary poll results and taking into account some candidates are running uncontested.

SEE ALSO: Colombia News and Profiles

According to the report, some of the candidates with paramilitary ties are running in the same electoral districts where they have previously served public office. Several current candidates in the northern department of Magdalena, for example, were reportedly signers of the so-called Chivolo Pact, a political agreement signed in 2000 between numerous politicians in the region and a paramilitary faction led by Rodrigo Tovar Pupo, alias "Jorge 40."

Paramilitary - political connections, like those fostered by Jorge 40, were the basis of the so-called "parapolitics" scandals that led to the incarceration of dozens of politicians in the mid-2000s. 

Acolombiagrafico

InSight Crime Analysis

According to Avila Martinez, the report's findings indicate Colombia's paramilitary networks never fully went away in some of the areas that suffered the highest levels of violence and displacement as a result of the country's armed conflict. 

?The political structures [in these areas] have remained the same," he told InSight Crime. "These are candidates that were politicians during the expansion of paramilitary [groups]. They left the public scene for seven or eight years. Some went to jail and others disappeared. And now they are returning to the elections.? 

The return to elected office of former politicians allegedly involved in the country's parapolitics scandals could have ripple effects on other issues. It would be a setback, Avila Martinez says, for land restitution efforts and other reparations processes related to Colombia's armed conflict.

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.

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 / 22 MAY 2018

Authorities in Colombia have captured one of the last remaining leaders of the Urabeños, a devastating blow to the country’s…

ALFONSO CANO / 19 FEB 2011

The Colombian security forces know where the FARC's top commander is hiding and will not hesitate to kill him, the…

COLOMBIA / 9 MAY 2019

An escalating conflict between the Urabeños and the ELN has held thousands of people hostage within the town of Bojayá…

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…