Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzon denies allegations that he has filled government positions with personal allies as a means of serving his political interests.
A number of media reports last week, among them a Caracol Radio exclusive, accused the vice president of filling government positions with personal acquaintances in the department of Valle del Cauca, as well on the National Reconciliation and Reparation Commission, rather than hiring based on an applicant’s knowledge and experience.
The reports also stated that people in these positions have formed a political movement in support of Garzon called the Centro Independiente (Independent Center).
In response to these criticisms, Garzon stated, “One cannot say that people near to the vice president or any of his relatives are occupying public posts… with these affirmations they are trying to stigmatize the Valle del Cauca,” El Tiempo reports.
Newspaper El Espectador also quoted the vice president as saying: “I challenge the country to show one relative of mine who has a lead post in government … the lives of the people that work in my government are open for everyone to see.”
Garzon said that there is only one man, Orlando Riascos, who formerly worked with him in the provincial government and now occupies a post on the Reparation Commission.
According to the Caracol Radio report, Garzon has evolved into a powerful political figure with a great deal of influence over the government workers in his service.