69 new Colombia congress elect tied to criminal activity: Report

Posted on Mar 10 2014 - 11:08pm by Rico
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Sixty-nine of the congress elect who gained seats in Sunday’s election have links to illegal activities, according to a local NGO. If allegations are true, this means that more than a quarter of Colombia’s lawmakers taking office on July 20 is in trouble with the law.

The report, spearheaded by political analyst Leon Valencia, gave an insight into the 69 congress elect who had been under scrutiny for alleged illegal activity in the build-up to the congressional elections.

These senators and representatives were under investigation for illegal vote procurement as well as possible links with guerrilla groups, drug trafficking networks and smuggling.

The Peace and Reconciliation Commission’s report revealed that 131 of Sunday’s candidates were being questioned by the Peace and Reconciliation Comission about their involvement in criminal activity and that 69 candidates were allegedly proven to have illegal links. Thirty three of the seats in the Senate and 36 in the House of Representatives, were reportedly gained by people with links to illegal activities.

According to Valencia, these congressmen have a lot of disposable income from “illegal activities” as well as having “enormous influence in some areas of the country.”

In the past, the PRC was concerned with “parapoliticans,” congress members with affiliation with a paramilitary group. However Ariel Avila , a researcher at the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation, stated that such problems were “not the focus” of this report.

MORE: NGO: 80 Congress candidates linked to paramilitaries

The report names specific members and outlines their links to the criminal world:

Senate

Criminal link

Carlos Emiro Barriga
Conservative Party
According to research, his brother, Pedro Barriga , is accused of being a paramilitary leader and drug trafficker. He has also been proven to work with Jorge Iván Laverde Zapata , alias “El Iguano” who is linked with the creation of illegal armed groups.
Maritza Martinez
U Party
Said to be heir to the political structure created by her husband Luis Carlos Torres, former senator of Radical Change Party and subject to formal investigation by the Supreme Court for alleged links with paramilitaries.
Adriana Franco
Liberal Party
Political heir of Victor Renan Barco, who died while facing investigation for ties to paramilitary groups. Openly supported by a guerrilla network charged with the murder of journalist Orlando Sierra. Links to Angel Enrique Emilio convicted of ties to illegal armed groups.

House

José Ignacio Mesa
Radical Change
Originally under investigation in 2011 for unlawful financial help in 2002. Close to Luis Perez, former candidate for mayor of Medellin, who has been questioned for alleged links with paramilitaries. His father was allegedly linked to Pablo Escobar in the eighties.
Jorge Villamizar
Liberal Party
Accused before the Supreme Court of having relations with paramilitary groups during his congressional campaign. Also a convicted “parapolitician.”
Juan Carlos Garcia
Conservative Party
Links to questionable Senator Carlos Barriga. Brothers known be be affiliated with crime groups, in particular drug trafficker Luis Pérez Mogollon, alias “El Pulpo”.

Sources

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