News from Colombia,
1. Rodolfo Palomino, head of Colombia’s national police,
resigned amid allegations of running a male prostitution ring with the help of other police officials.
The ring is said to have forced cadets to cater to high-ranking officers and even to lawmakers
A video broadcast by Colombian media supposedly shows deputy interior minister Carlos Ferro in 2008, when he was a senator, discussing male prostitutes. Here’s the video (in Spanish),
InSight Crime’s analysis
Palomino’s resignation comes just over a month before the self-imposed March 23 deadline for a final ceasefire agreement between the government and guerrilla group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC). Should a peace deal be reached, the ongoing scandal surrounding the “Community of the Ring” could prove an unwelcome distraction for a police force expected to play a crucial role in implementing the expected accord.
The scandal is also a black mark on the record of a police force widely seen as a model for the region. The Colombian police have participated extensively in training foreign security forces in recent years, and are largely viewed as less corrupt and more effective in combating organized crime than other police forces across the region. However, the growing evidence of misbehavior by officers at the highest levels of the force could diminish that reputation.
2. Santiago Uribe, former president Alvaro Uribe’s brother, has been detained on charges that he created and led a death squad known as the Twelve Apostles in the 1990s
The brother of Colombia’s former president Álvaro Uribe has been arrested on charges that he created and led a death squad known as the Twelve Apostles, which was responsible for dozens of murders in the province of Antioquia.
Santiago Uribe was arrested on Monday in the upscale neighbourhood of El Poblado despite efforts by his security detail to block his detention.
Uribe, the younger brother of the former president, has denied that he was involved in either the death squad or the murders that witnesses said were planned at the Uribe family ranch in the town of Yarumal in the 1990s.
Supporters of ex-president Uribe, who is now a senator for the opposition Centro Democrático Party, decried the arrest. “This is a political prosecution that are part of the macabre objectives of a government that is complicit with criminals,” Paloma Valencia, also of the Centro Democrático, told local radio.
Meanwhile, the ENL and the FARC are engaging in turf wars as the March 23rd deadline nears for the FARC-Colombian government talks.