Colombia’s Defense Minister came under fire Wednesday amid ongoing security concerns and after one of his guards was arrested for the armed robbery of a Bogota girls’ school.
Thursday’s attack came from Senate President Armando Benedetti, who called the Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera “the minister of democratic insecurity,” reffering to the democratic security policy of former President Alvaro Uribe.
According to Benedetti, a loyal supporter of the former president, the arrest of Rivera’s escorts proves the incompetence of the defense chief.
“These acts of insecurity are proof that the minister does not know what happens around him. He does not know what is happening in the country, that the generals pay no mind to him and that public order issues are a disaster. … The best thing he can do is resign,” the senate president told newspaper El Espectador.
Benedetti blames the defense minister for the activity of neo-paramilitary and drug gangs in large parts of rural Colombia and in the country’s cities and are allegedly trying to influence the upcoming local and departmental elections in October..
“The candidates for the local elections are suffering and the minister seems unaware of what is happening around him. … It is time he let President (Juan Manuel) Santos free and step aside,” said the senate president.
Colombia’s crime rate is subject to heavy debate within the coalition. The Liberal Party — now a member of the coalition, but in the opposition during the Uribe administration — supports the defense minister and blames the ongoing violence on Uribe, who, according to the Liberals, “recycled” paramilitary organization AUC to the now excisting neo-paramilitary groups.