Photo: Electioneering news
At least seven members of Colombia’s National Police have been suspended for engaging in political activity ahead of the June 15 presidential runoff, while an air force officer is under investigation for alleged electioneering, the Defense Ministry said Friday.
The ministry said the cops were suspended pending an investigation of charges leveled by German Vargas Lleras, running mate of incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos, who is seeking a second term.
The investigation into the activities of air force Capt. Jorge Enrique Orduz Salamanca was launched 15 days ago and is apparently based on an order by army commander Gen. Jaime Lasprilla.
Vargas Lleras specifically referred to Orduz in a statement on Blu Radio and let it be known that the captain is married to Tatiana Cabello, an elected official with the party of Santos’ opponent, Oscar Ivan Zuluaga.
Orduz had posted photos on social networks in which he was seen with former president and Sen.-elect Alvaro Uribe, Zuluaga’s political mentor, Vargas Lleras said.
Moreover, according to Vargas Lleras, the captain had also circulated montages showing Santos in the uniform of the late founder of the FARC rebel group, Manuel “Sureshot” Marulanda.
The center-right Santos is pursuing a peace process with the FARC, while the rightist Zuluaga is openly skeptical of the talks, though he has backed away from an earlier promise to suspend the negotiations if he is elected.
On Thursday the army high command ordered military units’ social media accounts closed if they weren’t the official one, for the purpose of making a communications “reorganization.”
Regional leaders of the Santos campaign have reported cases in which members of security forces have “harassed ” them and even seized their pamphlets and flyers.
“In all my years in politics I’ve never seen active members of the National Police involved in electioneering,” Vargas Lleras, who noted that these cops support Zuluaga, said.