Colombia’s President Ivan Duque on Monday appointed the heir of a convicted land thief and terrorism sponsor as Vice-Minister for the Promotion of Justice, further strengthening ties with organized crime.
In a tweet, Duque announced the appointment of Francisco Chaux, whose father Juan Jose Chaux was convicted to 40 years in prison for terrorism support and is additionally accused of land theft.
The president, who was elected in 2018 with the alleged help of a drug trafficking organization, has granted an increasing amount of power to family members and representatives of notorious organized crime figures.
The most delicate of appointments are those to positions related to justice, victims and land distribution, which could impede land restitution to victims of, for example Chaux’s father, or lead to a repetition of the massive land heist with government support under Uribe.
Chaux’s father was intimate with Duque’s political patron, Alvaro Uribe, and multiple commanders of now-demobilized paramilitary organization AUC who used terrorism to help the politician get elected governor and dispossess large amounts of lands.
The paramilitaries helped Chaux get elected in his home province and steal land for palm oil plantations in the northwest of Colombia.
President Ivan Duque is investigated over his relationship with the late money launderer of the drug trafficking organization of Marquitos Figueroa.
The former personal assistant of Uribe conspired with Hernandez to rig the 2018 elections in favor of Duque, who the mafioso knew personally.
The election fraud scandal called “Ñeñepolitica” is not just a legal problem for Duque, but for many in his party who were wiretapped discussing vote-buying or illegal campaign donations.
Marta Lucia Ramirez
Marta Lucia Ramirez is Duque’s vice-president who found herself tied to former Medellin Cartel and AUC narco “Memo Fantasma” after an invstigation by transnational crime website InSight Crime.
The VP’s husband, Alvaro Rincon, confirmed they worked together with the former narco in the development of a real estate project in the capital Bogota, Torres 85.
Ramirez allegedly helped the narco get his kids accepted to one of Bogota’s most exclusive schools, the Nuevo Granada School, which has received donations from Memo Fantasma and his wife, Medellin socialite Catalina Mejia.
The VP has also been accused of having a conflict of interest as former contractor of Duque’s financial patron, Grupo Aval, together with Transport Minister Maria Angela Orozco.
Interior Minister Alicia Arango’s husband was one of Uribe’s presidential advisers until he was forced to step down in 2004 over his alleged involvement in the embezzlement of almost $500,000.
The Minister was Uribe’s private secretary throughout his presidency between 2002 and 2010 and became the director of his far-right Democratic Center party in 2013.
Nancy Patricia Gutierrez
Nancy Patricia Gutierrez is the presidential human rights adviser, who is being investigated over her alleged ties to paramilitary organization AUC.
Six former members of the AUC have testified that they helped her enter the Senate in the 2002 elections.
Gutierrez also played a key role in a political warfare campaign orchestrated by now-defunct intelligence agency DAS to smear one of Uribe’s critics, former Senator Piedad Cordoba.
Rodolfo Enrique Zea
Agriculture Minister Rodolfo Enrique Zea is being investigated by the Prosecutor General’s Office for allegedly seeking to funnel coronavirus emergency aid funds to people who weren’t supposed to receive them.
The Inspector General’s Office is conducting a second investigation on similar charges related to Zea’s time as Secretary General of the Territorial Development Bank (Findeter) where he worked most his professional life.
This investment bank was accused of wiring money to Micky Ramirez, a former Medellin Cartel narco, when Uribe was president.
Jorge Rodrigo Tovar
Jorge Rodrigo Tovar, the son of paramilitary war lord ‘Jorge 40,” was appointed Victims coordinator by Interior Minister Alicia Arango in May.
While Jorge 40 was among the most brutal paramilitary warlords in the 1990’s, the AUC commander’s son was not involved in these crimes and spent years working with victims without knowing the attorney is the son of one of their victimizers.
The appointment of the son of the warlord accused of 330 massacres as victims coordinator created major distrust among victims.
Andres Augusto Castro
Andres Augusto Castro is a dynasty politician who between 2009 and 2013 was the director of palm federation Fedepalma, which saw multiple members arrested while Castro represented them.
Duque appointed Castro director of the Land Restitution Unit, making the former representative of land thieves responsible for the restitution of this land.
Castro failed to mention his former position when applying for his current job, which has since raised questions about the official’s conflict of interest.
Myriam Carolina Martinez
Myriam Carolina Martinez was the director of Fedepalma between 2013 until her appointment at the National Land Agency,
The predecessor of this agency was founded by Uribe nd liquidated under former President Juan Manuel Santos because of the rampant embezzlement of land its participation in land dispossession.
Chaux’s company Urapalma, for example, was able to legalize the ownership of a palm oil plantation in 2005 after they had been expelled by paramilitaries commander by AUC founder Carlos Castaño.
Democratic Center leader Alvaro Uribe is an admitted former associate of the Medellin Cartel and an alleged founder of the Bloque Metro paramilitary group.
The earlier evidence of Uribe’s involvement in drug trafficking date back to the late 1970’s when he was in business with Fabio Ochoa, one of the founders of the Medellin Cartel.
The Cartel really kicked off after the former president was appointed director of the Civil Aviation Agency and granded some 200 licenses for airplanes and airstrips to the cartel.
Uribe’s late brother had two children with Medellin Cartel drug trafficker Dolly Cifuentes, whose brother Alex became “El Chapo’s” right-hand man until his arrest in 2013. Uribe’s niece is currently wanted for money laundering for the Sinaloa Cartel.
Fabio Valencia is a senior member of the Democratic Center, whose brother was convicted for having ties to paramilitary group AGC when Valencia was Justice Minister.
The CD chief has long been accused of having had ties with paramilitary drug trafficker Ramon Isazza, but has always denied this..
Luis Alfredo Ramos
Luis Alfredo Ramos is Duque’s former debate chief who is awaiting verdict over his alleged ties to paramilitary organization AUC and drug trafficker “El Tuso,” who have said to have financed the former Conservative Party mogul’s election campauigns since 1998.
Nubia Stella Martinez
Party director Nubio Stella Martinez is under investigation for allegedly receiving illegal campaign funds for Duque’s 2018 campaign from a Venezuelan businessman.
The prosecution opened the investigation after the Supreme Court surrendered wiretaps in which Martinez said she had received $300,000 from “the Venezuelan,” which turned out to be oil tycoon Oswaldo Cisneros, who said a Colombian subsidiary made this contribution legally.
The father of Senator Paola Holguin, Frank Holguin, was a frontman of the Medellin Cartel who was left with a large number of real estate properties after the death of Pablo Escobar. Her late uncle Juan Fernando reportedly was an assassin who initially worked for the Medellin Cartel and later joined “Don Berna” after he took control of the Oficina de Envigado.
Fernando Araujo is the son of former foreign minister Fernando Araujo and the nephew of convicted politician Alvaro Araujo who maintained ties between paramilitary organization AUC and US multinational Drummond.
Maria Fernanda Cabal
Senator Maria Fernanda Cabal is under investigation for allegedly intimidating and extorting school teachers in Bogota into voting for her. Cabal’s husband, alleged terrorism supporter Jose Felix Ladauri, received hundreds of thousands of dollars despite suspicions of corruption or mismanagement.
Ruby Helena Chagui
Senator Ruby Helena Spath is the heir of a land-owning dynasty with ties to demobilization paramilitary organization AUC. Their family business, Proagrocor, has been sentenced to return land with the help of the National Lan Agency’s predecessor. Chagui’s fugitive uncle allegedly financed the paramilitaries and her brother has been accused of conspiring to commit homicide.
Jose Obdulio Gaviria
Senator Jose Obdulio Gaviria is the cousin of Pablo Escobar. His brother Jorge has previously admitted maintaining ties with Medellin crime syndicate Oficina de Envigado for which his former superior at the Medellin Mayor’s Office was sentenced to prison. Gaviria has been investigated for his alleged role in a conspiracy with narcos and now-defunct intelligence agency DAS to discredit and wiretap the Supreme Court while it was investigating the drug trafficking ties of Uribe’s cousin Mario.
Maria del Rosario Guerra
Senator Maria del Rosario Guerra is the heir of a political dynasty that has been marred because of its alleged corruption and ties to organized crime. Guerra’s brother Jose was convicted for his ties to the Cali Cartel and her brother Antonio has been accused of ties to paramilitary organization AUC. The senator’s cousin Miguel Alonso de la Espriella was one of the paramilitaries’ emissaries in Congress until his arrest in 2006.
Senator Ciro Ramirez is the heir of a political dynasty from Boya who took his father’s place and got elected to congress after the family patriarch was sentenced to prison for his ties to to the AUC.
Senator Santiago Valencia is the heir of the dynasty led by alleged parapolitician Fabio Valencia, whose brother Guillermo was arrested for his ties to the AGC while he was the director of the Medellin district prosecution.
Alvaro Hernan Prada
House Representative Alvaro Hernan Prada is being investigated by the Supreme Court for his alleged role in the manipulation witnesses to prevent former paramilitaries to confirm previous testimonies about the leading role of Uribe and his brother Santiago in the foundation of the Bloque Metro, which left 4000 victims in Antioquia.
Representative Edward Rodriguez allegedly took part in the conspiracy with the drug trafficking organization of Marquitos Figueroa to rig the 2018 presidential election. He was already being accused of vote-buying in the 2014 election.
The father of House Representative Esteban Quintero, former Senator Ruben Dario Quintero was sentenced to prison for his close ties to the AUC, which helped him enter the Senate in 2002.
Gabriel Jaime Vallejo
House Representative Jaime Vallejo is under investigation by the State Council for also being a director of a foundation that allegedly has been receiving government grants.
House Representative Gabriel Santos is the son of Colombia’s ambassador to Washington DC, Francisco Santos, who has been accused by multiple members of paramilitary organization AUC of seeking the formation of a death squad in Bogota.
House Representative Gustavo Londoño is a land thief from the eastern Vichada province, who was forced to return lands he had illegally appropriated after his criminal practices were revealed in the press.
John Jairo Bermudez
Representative John Jairo Bermudez is an associate of the Suarez clan from Bello, which rose to power in the beginning of the century thanks to their intimate ties to organized crime in Antiquia.
Jose Jaime Uscategui
House Representative Jose Jaime Uscategui is the son of General Jaime Uscategui, who was sentenced to 37 years in prison for his ties to paramilitary group AUC and his role in a massacre.
Juan David Velez
House Representative Juan David Velez has been implicated in the witness tampering trial against Uribe.
Juan Manuel Daza
House Representative Juan Manuel Daza is the son for Jaime Daza, the Secretary General of ranchers’ federation Fedegan, which had close ties to paramilitary organization and has been suspected of embezzlement of government funds while Daza and his boss, Jose Felix Lafaurie, were in charge.
House Representative Margarita Restrepo is under investigation for swindle and vote buying after criminal the prosecution received complaints from voters who said Restrepo offered them vacations and televisions if they voted for her, but never received the promised rewards.
Oscar Leonardo Villamizar
House Representative Oscar Leonardo Villamizar is the son of former Senator Alirio Villamizar who was sentenced to prison for receiving a notary office in return for buying votes for Uribe. The house representative’s mother is also in prison because she used the notary for criminal purposes.