According to a report, Mexican cartels are financing electoral campaigns in Colombia

Several Mexican cartels have leaked money in some electoral campaigns in Colombia for local and regional elections that will be held on October 27, the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation (Pares) denounced Thursday.

Colombian police supervising the polls while conducting an election day.

Colombian police supervising the polls while conducting an election day. EFE / EDWIN BUSTAMANTE / Archive


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Leer en español: Alertan de que carteles mexicanos financian campañas electorales de Colombia

"Mexican cartels are now in everything, they are not only in violence and drug trafficking, but they begin to influence local politics as well," the director of Peers, León Valencia, told a news conference.

Valencia explained, when presenting the report "Candidates questioned to Mayors and Governments", that in municipalities of the Pacific coast such as Tumaco, in the department of Nariño, bordering Ecuador, the Mexican drug trafficking groups "have an important presence."

Tumaco, a municipality with a large rural territory dependent on its government, is the town with more hectares of coca planted throughout Colombia and also has the second port of the country in the Pacific, so its control is essential for drug trafficking.

For his part, the deputy director of the foundation, Ariel Ávila, said that so far at least eight candidates who are sponsored by Mexican cartels have been identified.

These are mainly concentrated in the municipalities of Cáceres, Caucasia, and Tarazá, in the Lower Cauca region of Antioquia, and in the Pacific Nariñense region, exactly in Tumaco, Magüí Payán, Barbacoas, and La Tola.

Similarly, Avila said during the presentation of the report that there is an alert in the department of Cauca in the municipalities of López de Micay, Timbiquí and Guapi.

On October 27, 36.8 million Colombians are called to the polls to elect 32 governors, mayors of more than 1,110 municipalities, councilors and regional deputies for a period of four years that will begin on January 1, 2020.

Mexican cartels are not the only illegal groups that are filtering election campaigns, as the Clan del Golfo, the main heir group of paramilitaries, also does so on the Pacific coast and lower Cauca, and the guerrilla of the National Liberation Army (ELN ) and FARC disagreements in La Guajira, according to the Peers report.

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In the document, Pares highlights that in that first sample they identified 98 questioned candidates out of 243 who aspire to mayors and governorships in 27 of the 32 Colombian departments.

These are also indicated by corruption (53), the inheritance of parapolitics - as the scandal for links between politicians and paramilitary groups is known in the country - (29), parapolitics (9) and links with other groups outside the law (7 ).

The presence of these 98 candidates questioned in the elections is the product of "judicial, political and social impunity", because although some have been in proceedings with Justice have not been charged.

The departments with the highest number of politicians in question are Antioquia (10), Córdoba (9), Chocó (8), Meta (7), Arauca, Bolívar and Cesar (6), La Guajira, Santander and Valle del Cauca (5), and Casanare, Cauca, Risaralda, Sucre and Tolima (3).

Another of the conclusions of the report highlights as "a new political phenomenon" the emergence of some ethnic parties such as the Afro-Colombian Democratic Alliance (ADA), which with only three months of existence has endorsed 3,500 candidates.

The foregoing could be due to the handling of Luis Alberto Gil and Carlos Martínez Sinisterra, condemned by parapolitics, according to the report of the Peers Foundation.

The foundation also warned of the existence of "regional authoritarianism" that limit political competition following political lineages in departments such as Atlántico, with the Char family; in Cesar, with the Gnecco; and in Valle del Cauca with the current governor, Dilian Francisco Toro.

The "Candidates questioned to mayors and governors" report is the first installment that Peers makes prior to the next regional elections, and the other two will focus on political violence and political clans.

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