It took Colombia’s Congress less than 30 seconds on Tuesday to sink the first of seven anti-corruption proposals President Ivan Duque promised to support, but didn’t.
The country’s opposition, and in particular the Green Alliance party that had promoted the anti-corruption measures, is furious and accused the government of betrayal.
Following a referendum in August, Duque promised to work together with all political parties to guarantee the approval of the measures to curb corruption in Congress, widely perceived as Colombia’s most corrupt institution.
But twenty-nine seconds after the chairman of the House, Alejandro Chacon (Liberal Party), called to vote on a three-term limit for lawmakers, he ended the vote already.
The move surprised many lawmakers who didn’t even have the time to walk to their seat and press the voting button, according to Representative Juanita Goebertus of the centrist Green Alliance Party.
Former Senator Claudia Lopez, who organized the anti-corruption referendum, accused Duque of deceiving the opposition when he promised to guarantee the approval of the anti-corruption measures.
The president failed to fulfill his promise to send a message of urgency regarding the proposals of the referendum. This is why, as expected, the proposals were betrayed.
Former Senator Claudia Lopez
According to the popular anti-corruption advocate, Duque and Congress have no intention to approve the anti-corruption measures and instead are preparing a counter-reform that could result in even more nepotism and corruption.
“It’s called a ‘political reform’ and will be presented in the senate. It’s a mockery of citizenship frankly,” Lopez was quoted as saying by newspaper El Espectador.
Ruling party Representative Gabriel Santos (Democratic Center), the son of Colombia’s ambassador to Washington DC Francisco Santos and a nephew of former President Juan Manuel Santos, hit back and said Lopez should blame herself for accusing Congress of corruption.
The guilty one is she who devoted herself in the media to labeling many congressmen, including myself, as corrupt. That’s not the way to do politics.
Without a whiff of irony, the youngest heir of the Santos dynasty claimed that “there exist no clientelism anymore.”