Colombia’s national government admitted on Tuesday to delivering agricultural subsidies to supporters of President Alvaro Uribe‘s re-election referendum.
After a drawn out scandal, the Ministry for Agriculture admitted recognition that Agro Ingreso Seguro (AIS) subsidies had, in fact, been delivered to families and institutes that had financially supported the Uribe re-election campaign.
The scandal that has played out over the last months alleged that the Ministry for Agriculture had delivered Agro Ingreso Seguro subsidies (intended for poor, rural farmers) to various notable Colombian companies and wealthy families.
The current Minister for Agriculture, Andres Fernandez, claimed that he recognized the delivery of subsidies but he assured that it had never been illegal, reported newspaper El Espectador.
“[The delivery of subsidies] has never been denied because funds did not only go to referendum supporters, in other words AIS subsidies were delivered to everyone,” emphasized Fernandez.
According to the Minister AIS had no political affiliations as recipients of the funds were both supporters and opponents to Uribe.
Fernandez, who refused to stand down when his resignation was called for in early November, is due to answer questions on the government’s land policy before the Senate on Tuesday night.
Referring directly to any voting that may take place regarding land policies, the Minister stated that he hoped for the support from legislators.