Colombia President defends ‘Mermelada’

Posted on Mar 21 2014 - 5:02pm by Rico
Juan Manuel Santos

President Juan Manuel Santos defends recent claims of bribery within Colombian congress by describing it as “no different than government investing in its country’s regions.”

The funds or “mermalada” that publicly elected officials receive is “performed all over the world and is legitimate, like in England and the United States where congressmen suggest investment for their regions.”

Mermalada is used to describe various corrupt processes which see politicians receive large amounts of funding from central government under the guise of legitimate projects, for example infrastructure. The funding is used by local politicians to bribe citizens during elections or garner support for policies.

This month Colombia held its congressional elections, which have been criticized as “illegitimate” by figures such as  former president and now Senator Alvaro Uribe, due to high levels of similiar corruption.

MORE: ‘Corrupt Colombian congressmen received $1.5B in tax money for elections’

According to Santa Fe Radio, Santos said  ”what is not allowed and totally forbidden is theft of money is used for personal gain — that is the worst that could happen. But entitled to address investment, that is the real reason.”

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