Colombia’s High Judicial Council has temporarily suspended the appointment of two members of congress meant to represent the country’s Afro-Colombian population because they are not Afro-Colombian and “have no ties to the community,” Colombian media reported on Wednesday.
The suspension of Congressman Moises Orozco and Congresswoman Maria del Socorro Bustamante will be in place until the high court makes a final decision on a legal action taken by various people, including former congresswoman Piedad Cordoba, that asserted the chosen representatives for the Afro-Colombian population didn’t belong to the community and didn’t share a common identity with them.
According to Colombia’s El Espectador newspaper, various Afro-Colombian organizations consulted by the High Judicial Council “don’t recognize Bustamante nor Orozco as belonging because they make part of different political structures then those of the race, don’t share social or cultural roots with afro-decendents, nor have they fought for the community’s rights, which discredits their place in the minority group’s politics.”
Apparently, Bustamante and Orozco make part of the ethnic minority party, the “Afrovides movement,” which was created and led by controversial congressman Yahir Acuña.
Bustamante is also suspected of alleged ties with businesswoman and paramilitary supporter Enilce Lopez, alias “La Gata.”
Magistrate Wilson Ruiz stated “in Colombia there exist some minority groups […] and what we are seeing is that their right to elect and be elected are being affected,” according to El Heraldo newspaper.
Congressman Moises Orozco and Congresswoman Maria del Socorro Bustamante were both chosen in a special election, as required by law, to represent the historically forgotten community for the 2014 to 2018 period that begins on July 20.