Colombia's Latest Problems with Corruption

Posted in Latin America | 09-Nov-06 | Author: Samuel Logan and Ashley Morse

Well into his second term, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has made it clear that he will do what it takes to remove the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (F.A.R.C.) from his agenda before 2010. Through a sharp increase in military spending, Uribe hopes to eradicate both guerrilla violence and F.A.R.C. involvement in Colombian narco-trafficking.

Yet cracks in the system caused by corruption at high levels within the military chain of command may only widen as Uribe forces more money into the military structure. Links between the Colombian military and the country's various mini-trafficking organizations continue to surface, casting doubt over the professional nature of a military force compromised by private -- and illegal -- interests.

On October 19, a car heavily leaden with explosives entered the parking lot of the Military War College in Bogota, Colombia. Minutes later, a man dressed in a naval officer's uniform was seen exiting the car. Within hours, the car exploded, injuring 23 people. President Uribe immediately blamed F.A.R.C. In a charged speech, he called off hostage exchange talks and vowed to take the fight to the "scoundrels."

At the beginning of November, Uribe still had not released proof that F.A.R.C. committed the acts. At the same time, many Colombians remember when on September 7 Colombia's top military commander, General Mario Montoya, announced that members of a military intelligence unit based in Bogota had planted car bombs around that city, only to find them later and claim credit for the heroic deed. One of the bombs exploded on July 31, killing one civilian and wounding 19 soldiers. At the scene of the explosion, Uribe publicly accused F.A.R.C.

Uribe's lack of proof that links F.A.R.C. to the October 19 bomb has focused attention upon a Colombian senator who insists that the military general in charge of the Bogota War College, General Mario Correa, played a role in planting the October 19 bomb.

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