The term parapolitics is used to describe the ties between the now-formally demobilized paramilitary organization AUC, and Colombian lawmakers and public officials.
While then-opposition Senator Gustavo Petro had been denouncing ties between the AUC and members of the coalition and government of then-President Alvaro Uribe since 2002, the scandal did not break until 2006 after seized computers from demobilized paramilitary warlord “Jorge 40” showed the paramilitaries had signed pacts with politicians to “refound” the motherland.
Since then, 45 congressmen and seven governors were convicted for their use of paramilitary intimidation to get elected into office. Some 140 more former congressmen have pending investigations against them.
According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, more than 11,000 politicians, officials and businessmen are suspected of having made pacts with the AUC.