Medellin Mayor Alonso Salazar has raised the stakes in the political onslaught on mayoral candidate Luis Perez by issuing a statement backed by photographs detailing Perez’s alleged network of paramilitary support.
Salazar alleged Perez’s current campaign was being closely supported by demobilized paramilitary Efrain Maldonado, alias “Don Efra” or “El Viejo,” Colombian media reported.
Maldonado was a member of the “Heroes de Granada” block of the paramilitary AUC and also a member of the “Democracy Corporation” – a political organization primarily consisting of demobilized paramilitaries led by infamous AUC chief “Don Berna.”
Salazar said Maldonado is, “the boss of the whole paramilitary structure in the east central zone [of Medellin].”
The mayor claimed Maldonado manages support for Perez in Medellin neighborhoods through his “right hand men,” including Aurelio Antonio Tobon, alias “Mimao.”
According to Caracol Radio, Tobon, currently a local council candidate for Cambio Radical, is linked to the heads of criminal gangs throughout the city.
Salazar also handed the media photographs of Perez at a meeting last month alongside Tobon and other public figures with alleged links to criminal gangs.
Salazar said, “my hypothesis is that they have taken over all social apparatus, they control 80% of actions in the communities and they have created a group of corporations to capture the entire public budget.”
The mayor added he was aware he could be investigated for interfering in elections while in public office but, he said, “I am not going to sit on my hands, even though they could investigate.”
He added that he had denounced Perez’s activities to the prosecutor’s office, the Ministry of the Interior and the National Electoral Committee last week.
When Colombia Reports spoke to the National Electoral Commission on Friday morning they said there had been two reports against Perez, one for illicit campaign financing, the other for campaign publicity, related to Perez’s employment of controversial Venezuelan political fixer JJ Rendon.