Colombia Warns about Danger Corruption Poses to Democracy

By Dialogo
June 23, 2011

On 20 June, Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzón warned about the risk to
democracy from corruption, speaking at the opening of an OAS conference on that
topic in Cali, in southwestern Colombia.

“What is at issue here is the fight for democracy, and that means a frontal
attack on corruption and impunity,” said Garzón, who spoke after the meeting was
opened by the secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), José
Miguel Insulza.

“Everything illegal conspires against democracy,” insisted Garzón, a former
union leader in charge of human-rights policy and the fight against corruption in
the country.

“Crime’s two best allies in Colombia are corruption and impunity,” he added,
after noting that armed groups of the left and the right operate in his

Emphasizing the importance that the region’s governments should give to the
fight against corruption, he said, “it’s a matter of defending democracy, because
everything illegal is contrary to democracy.”

“If we let them (corruption and impunity) advance, they will continue
undermining democracy. The state is not the spoils of war,” he warned.

Garzón assured the OAS secretary general that Colombia will be “especially
receptive” to any recommendations that come out of the Cali meeting and said that in
the continent, “laws against corruption have made progress, but it’s necessary to
enforce them.”

Cali hosted the Second Conference on Progress and Challenges in Hemispheric
Cooperation against Corruption on 21 and 22 June.