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Latino Daily News

Wednesday December 25, 2013

Colombia Notifies Bogota Mayor of Removal

Colombia Notifies Bogota Mayor of Removal

Photo: Gustavo Petro

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The Colombian Inspector General’s Office published an edict Tuesday formally notifying Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro that he is to be removed from office for mismanagement.

The sanction, prompted by a December 2012 waste management crisis, was announced Dec. 9 and bars the 53-year-old leftist from holding any public post for 15 years.

Petro, a one-time guerrilla and former senator, has until Dec. 31 to ask the IG’s office to review its decision.

The mayor will file an appeal before the deadline, his attorney, Julio Cesar Ortiz, told reporters.

An appeal would delay the effective date of Petro’s ouster until early February.

Trash piled up in Bogota for nearly a week in December 2012 after Petro decided to shift responsibility for waste management from four private firms to the municipal water company.

The mayor harmed “the principle of freedom of enterprise” and put at risk “the environment and human health of the residents of Bogota,” Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez said in announcing his ruling.

The decision has been roundly criticized in Colombia and abroad, with even Petro’s political foes accusing Ordoñez - a prominent rightist - of having gone too far.

Supporters of Petro have organized protests in Bogota and Colombia’s attorney general, Eduardo Montealegre, has launched an investigation of Ordoñez’s handling of the case.

Even as Petro battles the IG’s office, he faces another threat: a recall election tentatively set for early February.

Leading the push to recall Petro is Miguel Gomez Martinez, who represents part of Bogota in the Colombian Congress and is a member of President Juan Manuel Santos’ conservative Party of the U.

The recall effort needed to collect signatures from at least 289,263 registered voters in Bogota. The campaign presented 641,707 signatures, of which 357,250 were deemed valid, election officials said last week.

For the recall vote to count, turnout must equal 55 percent or more of the 2.24 million ballots cast in the 2011 mayoral election.


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