A judge from the Caribbean island of San Andres became a bit of a national hero when he failed to hold back his tears about the injustice of corruption in Colombia.
Judge Jair Torres from San Andres jailed the four top officials for allegedly embezzling $40 million (COP120 billion) for which two former governors, Ronald Housni and Aury Guerrero, are already jailed.
“You don’t have the right to rob our people of their money. I am telling you this as an islander, not as a judge,” Torres told the accused officials with tears in his eyes.
When asked why he cried, the judge told newspaper El Tiempo that his heart broke when he heard about the amount of money that had been embezzled.
There is a lot of poverty here. With $40 million we can build roads, schools and hospitals for the poor people of this island. It’s not right this money is embezzled.
Judge Jair Torres
Torres knows exactly how poor many people on San Andres are; he grew up in one of the island’s slums and studied hard to lift himself and his family from poverty.
After obtaining his law degree at the Rafael Nuñez university in Cartagena, the now 36-year-old judge returned to his home island and got his first job as a clerk.
After years of hard work and several promotions he finally obtained his dream and became a judge, only to be confronted with the rampant corruption that has been destroying San Andres and much of Colombia.
“I have always served the people,” Torres told the newspaper after his emotional ruling made him a bit of a national hero, an icon of those who defend honesty and the rule of law in a country where many have lost hope in justice.
Torres told El Tiempo has was defiant. “You can be sure I will continue to deliver justice.”