Colombia’s poor say they have been excluded from a coronavirus emergency program after far-right President Ivan Duque put one of his dodgiest political allies in charge.
Duque said in July he had put former Senator Susana Correa in charge of the Social Prosperity Department to help “improve the targeting of social programs for the vulnerable population.”
The so-called “Solidarity Income” program “will continue to have a major impact on the most vulnerable,” the president said Saturday when visiting the former senator’s hometown Cali.
If “a major impact” means starvation, Duque couldn’t be more accurate, according to Correa’s Twitter account that has been bombarded with messages from people claiming they have been left without emergency aid.
- It says that they transferred yesterday already, but my account shows 0.
- I have received up to the fourth transfer of Solidarity Income on my Colpatria savings account and to this day I have not received any more.
- I have not received the August and September stipends.
- Until when are you going to fool us with the relief?
- I was granted Solidarity Income and until this moment I have not even received the first payment.
- We have not received anything since the month of July. We were thinking that they would transfer this since the beginning of September, they do not give us information and nobody answers the Social Prosperity line.
- The people who were assigned to Bancolombia and magically disappeared have not even received even the first transfer.
- Why are you removing people from the aid program????
- I have three accumulated transfer for the 4th, 5th and 6th, I didn’t get any message or anything and just days ago it appeared that I was no longer a beneficiary.
- How is it possible that I as a 22-year-old single mother with two children aged 5 and 1 am told that I am a pensioner and for this reason have not received even the first payment?
They don’t come dodgier
The last time Correa was involved in the “targeting of social programs” was in 2008 when her family received almost $200,000 in grants meant for poor farmers from the administration of Duque’s political patron, detained former President Alvaro Uribe.
Former Agriculture Minister Andres Felipe Arias, a.k.a. “Little Uribe,” was sentenced to 17 years in prison for embezzlement after the revelation of the so-called Secure Agro Income (AIS) scandal.
As if Correa’s involvement in the AIS scandal wasn’t controversial enough, the former Senator was suspected of election fraud when she took part in the 2011 mayoral elections in Cali.
The former Senator helped Duque get elected in 2018 when she was the president’s regional campaign manager in the Valle del Cauca province.