Colombia’s government announced Wendesday to appeal a court ruling that ordered the government to pay soldiers and marines a sum of over $19 million.
A Bogota-based court ruled on Tuesday the government owes nearly two thousand professional soldiers a sum which divided equally would come to approximately $10,000 per soldier.
Military members took legal actions against the government demanding compensation for a 20% salary cut in 2003.
“They are professional soldiers and professional marines that entered before the year 2001 as voluntary soldiers and in the year 2003, the national government, then led by Alvaro Uribe Velez, along with Minister of Defense, Martha Lucia Ramirez, decreased their normal salary by 20%,” said Mauricio Beltran, director of the Patriotic Sentiment Foundation (Sedesol), an organization that seeks to protect the professional soldiers of the country.
General secretary of the Defense Ministry, Luis Manuel Neira, told Radio W that the government will fight the court’s decision that could mean higher payments for nearly 44,000 military members in the future.
The government is facing financial demands from all sides of the armed forces. In April and the beginning of August, retired soldiers and police clashed with security personnel when they protested over what they consider insufficient pensions. Retired army personnel receive a minimum of $380 per month.