Colombia backs corrupt ambassador to Rome

Colombia’s Foreign Minister Mario Angela Holguin defended the appointment of former Agriculture Minister Andres Felipe Arias to the embassy in Rome, saying “an honest politician would be miserable there.”

President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday appointed Arias to Rome to replace Sabas Pretelt de la Vega, who has been summoned to court in Bogota to face bribery charges.

However, Arias is also the subject of a criminal investigation for corruption and, according to critics, is not exactly a great example of Colombian politics.

“That is true,” admitted Holguin. “But you have to understand that we’re talking about Italy, not Germany. We need a expert in corruption to be able to understand and deal with Italian politics.”

“Remember that Italy is the European Union’s most corrupt country after Greece, and only a little less corrupt than Colombia itself. We can’t send honest people to these kind of countries, because they’d feel miserable and wouldn’t know how to fulfill their duties,” Holguin said.

“A corrupt politician, who understands the culture of both worlds, is best. As we’re not really interested in developing long-standing relations with that country, it also can’t hurt if once every so often an ambassador must resign to face corruption charges or go to jail.” explained the foreign minister.

“Besides, if you kept them inside Colombia, they’d only end up embezzling public money,” Holguin said.

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