The Colombian interior minister reiterated the government’s commitment to the safety of political candidates in the October elections, various media reported.
Interior Minister German Vargas Lleras said that he is working in coordination with the Defense Ministry and the National Police to keep nearly 100,000 candidates safe. He did however explain that it would be difficult to ensure the security of so many people.
“People who have high risk are given special protection, but they can and they must understand that we are going to emphasize those municipalities where the situations have previously been determined as the most risk for the candidates.” He added that the government cannot “put in a security scheme to 100,000 Colombians, but yes, we will prioritize those who have received threats.”
Vargas Lleras made it a point to make this announcement on the anniversary of the government’s assassination of Union Patriotica Senator Manuel Cepeda. The government admitted to the murder, which took place in 1994, and asked for a pardon Tuesday from Cepeda’s family.
The government has a very difficult task ahead of them. There have already been at least 21 political assassinations of local elections candidates in 2011. Colombia’s national ombudsman has identified 199 municipalities that are at risk from illegal armed groups.