Colombian political party PIN, (Partido de Integracion Nacional) is facing increased criticism for alleged paramilitary ties as the March 14 congressional elections approach.
Semana reported Monday that Senator Luis Alberto Gil, currently serving time in prison for supporting paramilitary organization AUC, continues to control many of PIN’s decisions from La Picota detention center, outside Bogota. According to the news magazine, Gil gives direct orders to Alvaro Caicedo, the official head of PIN.
PIN was created after Gil was jailed, out of the ashes of several other political parties, including Colombia Viva and Convergencia Ciudadana, which fell apart after many of their members were imprisoned for paramilitary links.
Among the 100 candidates for Senate that PIN is backing, many have family ties or other associations to politicians now serving prison sentences for “parapolitics.” These include Gil’s wife, who is running for his former seat, and the son of ex-governor Hugo Aguilar, who was investigated for ties to paramilitaries in the Santander department.
Gil is also believed to be masterminding the integration of former political party ADN members into PIN. The national electoral council suspended ADN’s legal status on January 28, citing the number of imprisoned politicians involved in the party’s formation.
According to Semana, PIN stands to gain up to a million votes and thus win between 10 and 14 seats in the Senate, and some 20 in the House of Representatives.