Duque appoints far-right ally as Colombia’s ambassador to OAS

Alejandro Ordoñez (Image: Las 2 Orillas)

President Ivan Duque has appointed one of Colombia’s most radical politicians as ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington DC.

So far, the OAS knows former Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez only from when he illegally removed former Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro from office in 2015.

In Colombia, many know him as one of the most radical opponents of women’s rights who took part in book-burning events as recent as in the 1970s and absolving corrupt politicians who were later imprisoned by the Supreme Court.

The far-right in Colombia

Consequently, The appointment of a far-right politician to represent the country is highly controversial, especially because he is investigated by the OAS’ human rights court on political persecution charges.

In an interview with conservative radio network RCN Radio, the dean of the Law department of the elite Andes University, Catalina Botero, said the appointment was “worrying.”

According to Botero, Ordoñez could threaten “international cooperation” and Colombia’s obligation “to protect human rights.” She warned he could again abuse his position to defend his political persecution of leftists that is currently investigated by the international organization’s human rights courts.

Botero stressed that Ordoñez’ political actions are led “by the bible and his personal convictions” rather than the rule of law and compared his political persecution of detractors to that of Venezuela’s authoritarian government.

The Petro case reached the [OAS human rights organ] Inter-American Commission for Human Rights that protected Petro through prevention measures, applying exactly the same rule they applied to [Venezuelan opposition leader] Leopoldo Lopez. This case is currently with the Inter-American Court for Human Rights as the commission sued the Colombian state, saying that a public official like the former Inspector General may not remove elected officials from office.”

Los Andes University Law dean Catalina Botero

In response to Duque’s decision to appoint Ordoñez, Petro — who is currently a leading opposition senator — said Ordoñez was a “homophobe, anti-Semite and a fascist.”

As ambassador of Colombia “he will have to defend the Colombian state for its violations of human rights “he himself refuses to recognize.”

Ordoñez is investigated by Colombia’s State Council on nepotism charges and was one of the main sources of disinformation that successfully sought to promote the election of Duque.

The president, who on Monday vowed to fight nepotism and other forms of corruption, omitted to publicly announce the appointment.

Ever since Ordoñez joined Duque’s election campaign last year, rumors have been that the radical politician would be granted a top position in exchange for his support during the election race.

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