Members of Colombia’s Congress earn an annual salary that is nearly 20 times more than the average Colombian, according to a Mexican research center.
Radio station Caracol Radio reported that the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) found Colombian legislators earn $10,240 USD per month on average ($122,880 annually). According to CIDE, the average Colombian earns $6,272 (based on GDP per capita), meaning legislators earn 19.6 times more.
According to the CIDE, Colombian lawmakers rank #1 in Latin America when comparing their salaries to that of the average Colombian
“If you measure how much the annual salary of legislators is with respect to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, that is, how much a legislator earns compared to the level of average wealth per capita of their country, we find that this indicator, in the cases of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil, exceptionally high,” the report explained.
The research center also found that Colombian lawmakers are the 4th highest paid legislators in Latin America. Altogether, Colombian taxpayers spent $181.9 million to cover their Congress members salaries in 2010. Only Brazilian, Mexican, and Chilean legislators earn more than their Colombian counterparts — $15,942, $12,310, and $10,878 respectively.
Despite high salaries, the president of Colombia’s Senate, Juan Manuel Corzo, recently revived legislation that provides government subsidies to members of Congress to help pay for the cost of gasoline. Corzo argued Monday that “it is impossible, with our salary, to pay for the gasoline for two cars.”
Colombian Twitter users, feeling bad for the lawmaker, mockingly offered to start a telethon to raise money and awareness to help the Senate president fuel his car.
According to newspaper El Espectador, Liberal Senator Luis Fernando Velasco, in response to Corzo, proposed legislation that holds government officials financially responsible for fueling their own cars.