Viernes, 28 de octubre de 2016

| 2010/03/17 00:00

Colombia voters elect political novices with possible links to death squads

March 17--A new political party accused of having links to right-wing death squads gained important political ground in Colombia's congressional elections Sunday, raising concerns that ties between corrupt politicians and armed gangs remain strong, despite vigorous criminal investigations.

Colombia voters elect political novices with possible links to death squads

Since 2006, prosecutors have zeroed in on more than 80 lawmakers in Congress, charging half and placing the others under investigation for collaborating with death squad militias that killed thousands in this country's shadowy war. Most were close allies of President Álvaro Uribe, Washington's closest partner in the region and caretaker of billions in military and anti-drug aid.

Many of those implicated in crimes resigned from Congress, and election observers had hoped that voters would cast ballots against would-be successors with suspected criminal links. That would have helped purify a Congress badly tarnished by its collaboration with groups that trafficked cocaine, killed villagers and toppled small-town governments.

But Sunday, voters instead elected scores of political novices who are either under investigation or are relatives or associates of lawmakers implicated in a range of crimes. Political analysts say a third of the incoming lawmakers have questionable connections, as many as when prosecutors began leveling charges against members of Congress more than three years ago.
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