Polemical billboards are not propaganda: National Electoral Council

(Photo: Pacho Santos)

Colombia’s National Electoral Council on Tuesday determined that polemical billboards comparing rebel group FARC to deceased drug lord Pablo Escobar were neither electoral propaganda, nor a violation of campaign regulations.

Former vice president and potential 2014 presidential candidate Francisco Santos has been permitted to continue displaying the billboards, which ask who has killed more policemen, FARC rebel group leader Ivan Marquez or the deceased drug lord Pablo Escobar.

“The action unfolded by Dr. Francisco Santos does not come under what law 996 has determined as electoral propaganda,” said the CNE magistrate Juan Pablo Cepero.

The magistrate added that the billboards, which read, “We want peace without impunity,” are more appropriately defined as what the Constitutional Court calls “political proselytism.”

MOREBillboards comparing FARC to Pablo Escobar stir anger

Francisco Santos appeared before the council last Wednesday to defend his right to continue displaying the billboards. “Proselytism is permitted, freedom of expression is permitted and democratic opposition is permitted,” Santos told the council.

The magistrate said that the council made a “unanimous decision” in favor of the former vice president. Consequently, the billboards questioning the value of the current peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC will remain in place.


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