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 / 25 JUL 2022

The Urabeños, and some smaller Colombian gangs, have sent a letter to president-elect Gustavo Petro to seek peace.

AUC / 13 APR 2022

After running for hours, Carolina, 21, arrived in the city of Santa Marta with her family in 2000. Their feet…

BOLIVIA / 26 FEB 2021

While the seizure of 23 tons of cocaine by German, Belgian and Dutch police, the largest-ever haul of the drug…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…