Of the 166 total house representatives and 102 senators (268 Congressmen in total), 32 did not finish their terms in Congress. Although three members of Congress passed away from natural causes, 29 were gotten rid of due to criminal activity, corruption, resignation or connections to illegal armed groups.
Ranging from reasons as diverse as paramilitary connections, FARC connections, involvement in scandals, and ignorance of certain rules, the legislators ranged from left to right on the political spectrum. Listed below are the Senators who were removed from office and the various reasons for their removal.
U Party (lost eight of 76 lawmakers)
Luis Felipe Barrios
Barrios, a Representative from Bogota, was removed from Congress for conflict of interest, as he participated in a congressional vote as to whether or not he could change political parties shortly after his term began. Barrios was replaced by Luis Enrique Salas, who, only a year afterwards, was also removed from office.
Luis Enrique Salas
Salas, a Representative from Bogota, was the replacement for Luis Felipe Barrios. His removal was due to an investigation after his request for a large sum of money directed towards a group of people, using the church he was a pastor of as an excuse to obtain the money. He was replaced by Jose Gonzalez Gutierrez Triviño.
Hector Javier Vergara
Vergara, a Representative from Sucre, was removed from office for conflict of interest because of family connections, because of his father’s participation functionary of the mayorship of Sucre’s capital Sincelejo. He was replaced by Nicolas Guerrero Montaño.
Jose Ignacio Bermudez
Bermudez, a Representative from Cundinamarca, was removed from office after voting for a proposal his past party had banned him from voting on. He was replaced by Amanda Ricardo.
Cortes, a Representative from Bogota and former soap opera star, was removed for influence peddling – the practice of using the influence of one’s position to obtain favors from other people. She used her position to attempt to convince a court magistrate to sanction a lawyer in charge of prosecuting her husband on counts of fraud. Cortes was replaced by Francisco Pareja.
Eduardo Carlos Moreno
Moreno, a Senator from Sucre, was removed and banned from office for 10 years by the Inspector General for influence peddling after trying to get out of a fine imposed on him by the police, after he was caught driving drunk. He was replaced by Astrid Sanchez Montes de Oca.
Caceres, a Senator and former Senate President from Bolivar, was arrested for his connections to an illegal paramilitary group called “Heroes de Montes de Maria.” Although he reportedly met with AUC paramilitary boss Carlos Castaño to sign the Ralito Pact – an agreement between politicians, businessmen and paramilitaries to secure political power – he denied meeting with any paramilitary groups,
Rapag, a Senator from Magdalena, was arrested for his connections to paramilitary groups, receiving money from the illegal groups to finance his political aspirations.
Liberal Party (lost six of 55 lawmakers)
The Liberal Party, one of the main forces behind President Juan Manuel Santos’ “coalition of national unity,” lost six of its 55 congressmen. The reasons for the lawmakers’ impeachment varied.
Arenas, a Representative from Santander, was removed from office because he failed to take office in time after he was named as a replacement for a Senator who was banned from office for the parapolitics scandal from 2006-2010. He was replaced by Miguel Angel Pinto Hernandez.
Anaya, a Representative from Magdalena, was removed from office for conflict of interest because of family connections, because her husband was mayor of Tenerife, Magdalena. She was replaced by Jaime Enrique Serrano.
Oscar de Jesus Marin
Marin, a Representative from Antioquia, was removed from office because of conflict of interest due to his participation in a debate that would have benefitted him. He was replaced by Carlos Piedrahita.
Piedad Cordoba, a controversial Senator from Antioquia, was removed from her Senate seat and banned from office for 18 years due to illegal connections with Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC. Cordoba claimed that the Inspector General did not have the “moral authority” to get rid of her. She was replaced by Lidio Garcia.
Arbelaez, a Senator from Quindio, was removed and banned from office for 12 years by the Inspector General for a scandal while she was governor of her native Quindio involving public works irregularities. The Senator fast tracked a cable car project in one of the major tourist attractions in her state without going through the proper steps or consultations, while competing bids for the project were not considered. She was replaced by Luis Fernando Duque.
Carlos Alberto Escobar
Escobar, a Representative from the western Choco state, was arrested for his connections to paramilitaries, in particular.
Conservative Party (lost five of 58 lawmakers)
The Conservative Party, one of Colombia’s traditionally largest political powerhouses lost five of its congressmen, mainly due to corruption.
Noel Valencia – Conservative Party
Valencia, a Representative from Risaralda, was removed because of his marriage to then-Mayor of Dosquebradas, Risaralda. Direct family connections to family members in local posts is prohibited by Colombian law, as it represents a conflict of interest. Valencia was replaced by Cesar Augusto Franco.
Issa Eljadue – Conservative Party
Eljadue, a Representative from Magdalena, was removed from office for conflict of interest because of family connections, because of his brother’s mayorship of Pijiño del Carmen, Magdalena. He was replaced by Carlos Nery Lopez.
Yensi Acosta – Conservative Party
Acosta, a Representative from Cesar, was removed and banned from office for 15 years by the Inspector General for a irregularities relating to contracts, and the administration of funds intended for books and school uniforms of children while he was a functionary for the town of Chiriguana, Cesar. He was replaced by Juan Manuel Campo.
Jorge Hernan Mesa – Conservative Party
Mesa, a Representative from Caldas, resigned after he was arrested for an embezzlement scandal while he ran a housing loan bank in Manizales, Caldas. He was replaced by Carlos Uriel Naranjo.
Liliana Rendon – Conservative Party
Rendon, a senator from Antioquia, resigned to join the Democratic Center campaign for President and Congress earlier this year, citing that it was important to “defend Uribe’s ideals.” She was replaced by Arturo Yepes, brother of Conservative Party President Omar Yepes.
PIN (lost 4 of 20 lawmakers)
On entry, the PIN party was one of the most polemic parties to enter congress because of the politicians’ ties to politicians convicted either for corruption or ties to paramilitary groups. The party lost 20% of its representatives in the four years until the party changed its name to Citizens’ Option and returned to Congress for another four years.
Libardo Enrique Garcia – PIN
Garcia, a Representative from Magdalena, was removed from office for conflict of interest because of family connections, as his father was the mayor of the town of Fundacion, Magdalena. He was replaced by Carlos Enrique Avila.
Manuel Mazenet – PIN
Mazenet, a Senator from Magdalena, was removed and banned from office for 12 years by the Inspector General for a similar scandal as the Representative Yensi Acosta, while a functionary for the Governor of Magdalena. He was convicted at the same time as Acosta, and was replaced by Samuel Arrieta.
Didier Tavera – PIN
Tavera Amado, a Representative from Santander, resigned after he was arrested for aggravated conspiracy and homicide. Tavera was also found to have connections with Paramilitary groups. He was later released and re-captured after voting in the Presidential elections. Tavera was replaced by Jorge Enrique Gomez.
Democratic Pole (lost one of 13 lawmakers)
The leftist opposition party Democratic Pole (Polo Democratico Alternativo) lost only one senator over a major scandal in Bogota over kickbacks received by lawmakers and officials for the granting of public works contracts.
Ivan Moreno – Polo Democratico Alternativo
Moreno, a Senator from Santander and brother of now-jailed ex-Mayor of Bogota Samuel Moreno, was removed for accepting, and his involvement in the “contract carrousel” scandal that has rocked Bogota politics. He was arrested along with contractors from the Nule Group involved in the contract scandal, as well as his brother for receiving up to $15 million in kickbacks. He was replaced by Parmenio Cuellar.