Only two of Colombia’s congress presidents of the past 13 years are not investigated or have not been convicted over their alleged ties to paramilitary groups, an electoral observation NGO said Tuesday.
According to the Electoral Observation Mission (MOE), the remaining 11 congress presidents have either been convicted for using intimidation by paramilitary groups to get elected into congress or are investigated for so-called “parapolitics.”
U Party senator Carlos Armando Garcia, congress president in between 2001 and 2002, was absolved of charges and Cambia Radical senator Claudia Blum de Barbieri (2005-2006) is the only former congress president never to have been charged.
Of the 11 former congress presidents, four were convicted. The remaining seven are under investigation by the country’s Supreme Court.
Since the parapolitics scandal broke in 2005, the Supreme Court has convicted 38 former congressmen. 140 lawmakers are under criminal investigation.
In total, more than 11,000 politicians, members of the security forces, public officials and businessmen have been implicated in the scandal.
Former congress presidents’ legal status