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Colombia: Citizens Speak Out Against Government Corruption

In Colombia several cases of corruption have surfaced over the past year. Dating to events that happened during the two terms of former president Álvaro Uribe Vélez, these cases include legal action against several high-ranking members and lower functionaries of Uribe's government.

For example, there was a case over the scandal involving the Agricultural Subsidies Insurance (AIS, initials in Spanish). A program supposedly destined to rejuvenate the agriculture sector through subsidies to small agricultural companies, yet the reality was that its public resources have gone to large agro-industrial companies, major landowners, and even certain AIS employee relatives.

Corruption caricature by Tomaz Garzia (CC BY-NC 2.5)

Corruption caricature by Tomaz Garzia (CC BY-NC 2.5)

Another case is the multi-million dollar embezzlement by the Nule brothers  Miguel,  Manuel Francisco y Guido) [es], who received government construction and other infrastructure contracts and still have not fulfilled them. Supposedly endorsed by the former mayor Samuel Moreno Rojas and his brother Nestor Iván [es] (now defendants in their own corruption cases) the Nules are alleged to have made illegal payments during the government's contracting process in order to improve their company's chances.

Also being tried for corruption and other crimes are Bernardo Moreno, former secretary general for Uribe [es], and María del Pilar Hurtado [es], former director of the government intelligence service DAS, for the illegal wiretapping of reporters, individuals, and members of the Colombian Supreme Court.

And in the past month the discovery of several multi-million dollar embezzlements have been announced: at the national office of customs and taxes (DIAN, initials in Spanish), at the national healthcare program (EPS in Spanish) and at the regulating and enforcement entity for controlled substances.

Internet reactions to these corruption cases have been plentiful.

Pedro Restrepo (@pepar1950) makes a reference [es] to Uribe's connection to Andrés Felipe Arias, former agriculture minister during Uribe's government, and a longtime friend of Uribe:

Los próximos talleres democráticos los tendrá que hacer Álvaro Uribe en la Cárcel La Picota. Allá están casi todos sus amigos.

The next test of our democracy will have to be putting Uribe in the Prison La Picota. That is where almost all his friends are now!

Aleja Villota (@Aleja_Villota) writes [es] against the justices in these corruption cases:

Ningún poder del estado es inefable e infalible; la majestad dela justicia que se presupone omnipotente, huele a dictadura de jueces parcializados

No power of the state is infallible or ineffable; the justices that presume themselves omnipotent have themselves a whiff of that dictatorship of partisan, biased judges

Carlos F. Masmela (@pipemasmela) mentions [es] the recent fate of two close collaborators of the former President (Andrés Felipe Arias is called Uribito or little Uribe):

¡Dos golpes muy fuertes para Uribe en la misma semana, primero Uribito y Hoy Bernardo Moreno le dieron medida de aseguramiento en su contra!

Two heavy blows against Uribe in the same week, first Urbito and now Bernardo Moreno is being held as a flight risk!

Juan Manuel López on the website Kien & Ke [es] analyzes and discusses the facts [es] against the former president:

No parece difícil establecer que los escándalos cuyos protagonistas son sus subalternos no pudieron ser desconocidos por quien se preciaba y demostraba tener la información y el control sobre todo lo que sus funcionarios manejaban. Que él no acabe vinculado con nada de ello, parece imposible.

It doesn't seem difficult to establish the criminals in these scandals are being indicted for the actions of their subordinates, actions that had to have been known by people who prided themselves in being aware of everything, even flaunting their control and ability know in detail what their subordinates did. That Uribe has not been linked with any of this seems impossible.

Carlos Iván Zuluaga (@oizuluaga), an integral part of the national political party Partido Social de Unidad Nacional, commonly called Party of the “U”, (and led by Uribe), writes [es] in favor of DIAN and Uribe:

En el gobierno Uribe la DIAN avanzó contra la evasión y la corrupción con el programa MUISCA. EL recaudo entre 2002 y 2010 se triplicó

Uribe's government made advances against corruption and tax evasion with its MUISCA program. The collections from 2002 to 2010 tripled!

Henry D. Carrión (@HDCARRIONG) cites [es] various instances of corruption:

INJUSTO, DESCARADO, CARA DURAS LOS DE LA DIAN DEFINITIVAMENTE NIDO DE LADRONES y pensando que solo eran los NULE y Combo Moreno

WRONG, SHAMLESS, SCOUNDRELS, EMPLOYEES OF DIAN DEFINITELY A PACK OF THIEVES and I was thinking it was just the Brothers Nule and Combo Moreno

Jorge Ángel (@jotangelito) responds to news from the RCN Radio Twitter account with one of the most repeated hashtags on Twitter in recent days:#puestoparauribe:

@rcnlaradio: El Ex Presidente Uribe afirma que hay un ambiente que su gobierno fue corrupto”  ¿Ambiente? ¡Una absoluta claridad! #puestoparauribe

@rcnlaradio:The Ex President Uribe confirms there were suspicions of corruption in his government” Supicions? An absolute certainty!

In the blog Atrabilioso [es], Jorge Monroy says this is an attack [es] against Uribe and his people:

Un ataque combinado desde todos los frentes imaginables. Los más relevantes que puedo describir en este momento son los que provienen de los medios de comunicación, de la rama judicial, del Ejecutivo, del bloque bolivariano, de las FARC y de los miembros civiles políticamente activos que representan los intereses del terrorismo.

A combined attack on all possible fronts. The most notable that I can describe right now are those coming from the media, from the judicial branch, from the Executive branch, from the Bolivarian block, from the FARC and politically active civilians that represent terrorist interests.

Reporter Claudia López  (@CLOPEZanalista) writes about the parliamentary immunity proposal [es] for the Colombian senate which has started to generate several comments:

El que la debe la teme. Senador Conservador Juan Manuel Corzo propone INMUNIDAD parlamentaria. ¿Teme investigación por narco- política?

Someone is acting scared. Conservative Senator Juan Manuel Corzo proposes parliamentary IMMUNITY. Is he afraid of an investigation into narco-political ties?

All of this has caused the launch of several pages on Facebook such as “Una Colombia sin corruptos, es posible” / Colombia corruption free is possible [es], or  “Marcha de los antifaces” / Masked March [es] - a new movement [es] that is promoting a non-partisan march against corruption, which will be led by the writer Gustavo Bolívar and TV actors but which was born on Twitter [es].

The movement has uploaded several videos [es] to YouTube where they invite citizens to participate [es]:

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