Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Corruption in Colombia: Closer and closer to the top

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on August 2, 2011

by S. B. for The Economist – Americas View, July 29th, 2011.

Juan Manuel Santos, Colombia’s president, was one of the star members in the cabinet of his predecessor, Álvaro Uribe. As defence minister from 2006 to 2009, he oversaw many of the most successful attacks in the government’s 45-year-old war against the country’s leftist guerrillas. That record helped catapult Mr Santos to the presidency a year ago.

Several of his colleagues from Mr Uribe’s cabinet, however, have fared rather worse. Within a few days in late July, both Andrés Felipe Arias, the former agriculture minister, and Bernardo Moreno, Mr Uribe’s chief of staff, were jailed while they await trial in separate scandals. Meanwhile, a case against Sabas Pretelt, the former interior minister, involving yet another scandal was sent back to the prosecution because of procedural errors. Numerous officials from Mr Uribe’s government had already been charged with crimes including collaborating with paramilitary warlords, bribing legislators, spying on opponents and corruption. But none of them were as high-ranking or close to the president as Mr Arias and Mr Moreno were.

Mr Arias (pictured) is widely known as “Uribito” or “Uribe-Two” because of his physical likeness to the former president and their shared conservative politics. When Mr Uribe signed a free-trade agreement with the United States in 2006—which has not yet been ratified—Mr Arias introduced a programme of subsidies for small farmers to help them compete with American agricultural products. On his watch, some of the money went to bigger landholders and politicians—as well as to the owner of an influential newspaper, and to a former beauty queen who owned no land. (continue reading… )

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: