Investigators from the Prosecutor General’s Office have arrested an ex-congressman at a voting booth in the central Colombian state of Santander over alleged paramilitary ties.
National newspaper El Tiempo reported that ex-congressman Didier Tavera, with the Citizen’s Option Party (Opción Ciudadana), was arrested in the capital Bucaramanga of the Santander state by Technical Investigation Team (CTI) agents, the investigatory branch of the prosecutor general’s office.
Tavera had four arrest warrants from the criminal chamber of the Colombian Supreme Court for aggravated conspiracy and homicide, reports national newspaper El Espectador. Additionally, a 2012 report from the Electoral Observation Mission (MOE) shows that Tavera was under investigation for parapolitics.
Tavera, who resigned his seat in Congress on 20 May of this year, was slated to be a candidate for the governorship of Santander with the Liberal Party in 2015. The Bucaramanaga-based newspaper Vanguardia Liberal cited his reason for resigning as being related to his desire for the governorship. Colombian law requires candidates to resign from office 12 months before the inscription begins for their desired office.
Citizen’s Option Party
Tavera’s Citizens’ Option (OC) was originally called Citizens’ Convergence (Convergencia Ciudadana), a party in the governing coalition of Uribe (2002-2010). Following the arrest of the majority of its political leaders over the help they had received from death squads to get elected int0 Congress, the party was renamed the National Integration Party (Partido de Integracion Nacional – PIN). The imprisoned Congressmen were replaced by family members or close political allies and received a surprising 8.4% of the votes in the 2010 Congressional election.
The PIN changed its name in 2013 and became the OC, which got three senate seats in the March elections mostly from the northern Sucre department where electoral observers witnessed a 45% higher turnout than Colombia’s national average. According to the MOE, an electoral watchdog, a higher than average voter turnout tends to indicate voter fraud through vote-buying had taken place.
- Didier Tavera Amado renuncia a la Cámara de Representantes por Santander (Vanguardia Liberal)
- Por orden de la Corte, capturan al exrepresentante Didier Tavera (El Tiempo)
- Capturan al exrepresentante a la Cámara, Didier Tavera (El Espectador)