Colombia’s Prosecutor General ordered the investigation Thursday of a series of emails between retired military officers referencing the overthrow of current President Juan Manuel Santos.
Eduardo Montealegre asked his office’s investigatory branch, the Technical Investigation Team (CTI), to determine whether General Eduardo Santos Quiñones and Major Jorge Galvis Noyes, both retired, actually intended to plot a coup against Santos.
Montealegre announced the formation of a special commission in May to investigate the emails, but is now relying on the CTI for a preliminary analysis of the messages to discern whether a formal investigation should be opened against the officers.
Jaime Ruiz Barrera, President of the Colombian Association of Retired Officers of the Armed Forces, acknowledged the emails’ existence, but said the two officers had been discussing the country’s security situation and had never meant to stir up rebellion against Santos.
In one of the damning emails, Galvis said President Santos should “meet his obligations and electoral commitments, or otherwise be removed from office,” following the May 15 terrorist attack in Bogota that targeted former minster Fernando Londoño.
“The Colombian Constitution clearly states how to proceed in removing a president. The way one could be removed from office is established there. Any other mechanism other than what’s mentioned in the constitution is an extra-constitutional measure,” Montealegre said in May.
Santos has seen his approval ratings plummet recently. It now sits at 55%, a ten-point drop since April. Another 62% of the respondents were dissatisfied with the president’s handling of Colombia’s security situation.