Ivan Duque's Connections To Organized Crime Exposed
Iván Duque Márquez, born on August 1st in 1976, is a politician and lawyer who is the current president of Colombia. He was elected as the candidate from the Democratic Centre Party in the 2018 presidential election. Iván Duque's professional career began in 1999 as a consultant in the Andean Development Corporation (CAF) and later served as an advisor at the Colombian Ministry of Finance and Public Credit during the government of Andrés Pastrana (1998–2002).
Duque was born in Bogota to a wealthy political family in the Colombian town of Gómez Plata, Antioquia. He is the son of Juliana Márquez Tono a political scientist and Iván Duque Escobar of Medellin Colombia. Ivan Escobar was the former Governor of Antioquia, auditor to the United Nations, Minister of Mines and Energy, and head of the National Registry of Civil Status in the Government of Andrés Pastrana.
Duque and the Medellin Cartel
In 1981, Governor Ivan Duque Escobar reportedly called the country’s aviation chief, Alvaro Uribe, to warn him about a license granted to Jaime Cardona a known member of the Medellin Cartel. Duque called Uribe and told him that “in case you didn’t know, this is a businessman who is linked to the mafia.” Alvaro Uribe told Ivan Duque Escobar that the drug trafficker Cardona was “a good man.” In 1977, Cardona was caught with 530 kilos of cocaine and was one of Pablo Escobar‘s first money launderers. Despite Cardona’s known ties to Pablo Escobar, Uribe granted him the license to fly a route from Medellin to Turbo, a town on the Caribbean coast. The Uribe family was also close to Pablo Escobar according to declassified US cable links. Uribe was a cousin of the Ochoa crime family that partnered with Escobar and had financed his political campaigns. A declassified U.S. DIA report listed Uribe as one of 100 suspected Colombian “narcopols,” calling him a “close personal friend” of Escobar who was “dedicated to collaboration with the Medellin cartel at high government levels.” Uribe’s father was close friends with Fabio Ochoa, the patriarch of the Ochoa family that would help form the Medellin cartel in 1982. Uribe and the Ochoa brothers grew up together according to Alvaro Uribe's admission. In 1980, Jaime Uribe, Alvaro's brother, had his first child with Medellin cartel associate Dolly Cifuentes. The license was revoked after Duque personally reported the incident to President Julio Cesar Turbay, but Alvaro Uribe remained in his post despite his links to the Medellin cartel. Alvaro Uribe was first given the job as chief in civil aviation after his predecessor, Fernando Uribe, was assassinated by the Medellin cartel. According to newspaper reports, the assassinated aviation chief revoked licenses of prominent narcos and was about to file a report on the Medellin Cartel's use of aircraft to traffic cocaine to the US. Alvaro Uribe never released the report prepared by Fernando Uribe about Escobar’s extensive fleet of aircraft and cocaine transportation to the US. Instead, he enjoyed his time as an aviation chief granting licenses to the Medellin cartel. A few years later after Uribe left his post Justice Minister Rodrigo Lara ordered the aviation agency to revoke all the Medellin Cartel’s licenses. Lara was killed by the cartel soon after. Alvaro Uribe, former president of Colombia, became Iván Duque Márquez's political patron, financier, and mentor, less than two years after former governer Ivan Duque Escobar died in 2016.
Duque and Uribe
Iván Duque Márquez is heavily backed former president Alvaro Uribe. Experts claim Duque is a puppet for Uribe to evade a constitutional ban on presidential 3rd limits. During his presidential campaign, he openly stood against the Havana Accords that ended decades of war in Colombia with the guerilla group FARC. A policy pushed by Alvaro Uribe who wants to resume the war. Ivan Duque entered office on a pro-business platform that included promises to reform Colombia’s tax structure, modernize its economy and attract foreign capital. Duque failed to enact the policy agenda in the first year of his presidency, and the covid-19 pandemic and subsequent economic crisis have made his failure much more clear. Ivan Duque ran on an anti-corruption kick, promising to clean up the system. His presidency kicked off embroiled in a massive voter fraud scandal that involved some of Colombia's more influential families and organized crime.
Duque's Narco Election And Murder Coverup
President Ivan Duque was involved in a massive voter fraud conspiracy by organized crime figures led by Alvaro Uribe that aimed at putting him in power. Ivan Duque's electoral fraud involved coordination between Alvaro Uribe, Jose Guillermo Hernandez "Ñeñe", Marcos "Marquitos" Figueroa, the Gerlain family, the Char family, and other influential members linked to organized crime. A murder investigation recorded drug trafficker and mafia boss Jose Guillermo Hernandez, alias Ñeñe admitting to being key in a vote-buying operation for President Ivan Duque, at the order of former president Alvaro Uribe. The police wiretaps revealed an extensive relationship between Ivan Duque and Ñeñe, where Duque's personal assistant Maria Claudia Daza acted as an intermediary between organized crime and his campaign. When news about the Ñeñe wiretaps and investigation were made public, Duque's then-personal assistant Maria Claudia Daza fled the country. The Wiretaps also revealed that Ñeñe sought favors from the Duque appointed finance minister Alberto Carrasquilla after he took office in 2018. Ñeñe was recorded talking about using his ties to the finance minister to recover assets seized from narcos. He maintained ties with the Uribe’s Democratic Center (CD) party and the Duque administration long after the president had taken office. The homicide case which revealed evidence of vote buying for Duque appeared during an investigation into the murder of Oscar Rodriguez, a man who was mistaken for his father, money launderer Carlos Rodriguez. Carlos Rodriguez had just returned to Colombia after paying a penalty for money laundering in the United States. He wanted Ñeñe to pay an old debt of COP1 billion ($290,000). Instead of paying his debt Jose Guillermo Hernandez, alias Ñeñe decided to kill Carlos Rodriquez with hitmen working for his partner, Marcos "Marquitos" Figueroa. Unfortunately, the hitmen accidentally killed Carlos' son in a case of mistaken identity. Criminal lawyer Miguel Angel del Rio, representing the dead man reported that the case was been obstructed due to high-level criminal and political interests around ‘Ñeñe’ Hernández. Ñeñe, according to Colombian and US authorities, was a partner of drug trafficking kingpin and murderer Marcos "Marquitos" Figueroa linked to the criminal organization the Urabeños. Marcos "Marquitos" Figueroa was a major drug trafficker, the main source of Marquitos’ wealth and power was the contraband gasoline trade, which is worth as much as $3 billion and smuggled out of Venezuela. Marcos "Marquitos" Figueroa and his partner former governor of La Guajira department, Francisco “Kiko” Gomez, garnered enormous political power. Figueroa and Kiko are also implicated in a string of political murders, for which Francisco “Kiko” Gomez was sentenced in 2017 to 55 years in prison. Figueroa helped place allies not only in the governor’s office but also in mayor’s offices, congressional seats, and even the Colombian Presidency. When the death of Ñeñe became known, former president Uribe was the first in Colombia to express grief for the dead kingpin. Ñeñe's assets were valued at $580 million. Jose Guillermo Hernandez, alias Ñeñe was one of Duque’s main guests at his inauguration ceremony on August 7, 2018. Ñeñe and Duque were very close friends. In recordings “Ñeñe”, admits that stole money that was meant for buying votes in the Caribbean region for German Vargas Lleras in the first round and used this to buy them from Duque in the second round. During the conversation Jose Guillermo Hernandez, alias Ñeñe warned: “Be careful, we took advantage of the money that in the last one was stolen from Vargas Lleras for transport and stuff in the other one we are not going to have. Can you imagine where those hundreds of millions of pesos and some would have taken us, what would have happened in Valle?” Jose Guillermo Hernandez, alias Ñeñe revealed there were more than a billion pesos involved and he was in charge of getting entrepreneurs to commit to buying votes for Duque.
Ivan Duque electoral fraud coverup
A prosecutor named Ricardo Bejarano was working with ‘Neñe’, warning him of confidential proceedings at the Prosecutor General’s Office and alerted him when his communications were being wiretapped by authorities. Prosecutor General Francisco Barbosa ordered the prosecution and arrest the police investigators who discovered Duque and Uribe's narco ties instead of the elections fraud scandal. Ivan Duque and Francisco Barbosa have been close friends since they went to law school together more than 25 years ago. Prosecutor Barbosa was later accused of withholding evidence in the Duque electoral fraud investigation. Prosecutor Barbosa was heavily involved in Duque's campaign and his social media displayed a clear bias and political support for Duque, he deleted his social media accounts to save face. A judge ordered the release of the police investigators since there was no basis for their arrest and Barbosa couldn't provide a reason for arresting them. The journalists that covered the Duque election fraud story have since been attacked and sent death threats in a coordinated effort to silence them. According to a Supreme Court draft, Duque’s 2018 campaign chief & patron, Luis Alfredo Ramos, was linked to warlords and cartels between 1998 and 2011, which “facilitated some of the worst crimes in the region.” Luis Alfredo Ramos is reportedly facing a 19-year prison sentence over his ties to organized crime linked to the Uribe family and the Castaño family.
Duque and the Gerlain and Char crime families
The pro-Duque fraud was financed by the Gerlain and Char families who bought thousands of votes for about 10,000 pesos each in Colombia's Atlantic department. The Gerlein and Char families are among the most powerful economic groups in Colombia and their tentacles reach all aspects of politics, business, and organized crime. Julio Gerlein invested 6,000 million pesos (more than 1,500,000 USD) in Duque's presidential campaign, the Chars also held a "fundraising" between contractors. Julio Gerlein is the brother of senator Roberto Gerlein, the owner of construction company Valorcon, and the former lover of fugitive congresswoman Aída Marleno. The Char Clan, founded by patriarch Fuad Char, owns large swaths of the northern Atlantico province which it obtained through its associations with death squads and organized crime. The Char family is linked to the Medellin cartel.
Ivan Duque vs Aida Marleno
In 2018, the lower house of the Colombian Congress opened a preliminary corruption investigation against Ivan Duque. The investigation against Duque rose after accusations of corruption, electoral fraud and vote trafficking were made by former congresswoman Aída Merlano. Aída Marleno was sentenced to 15 years in prison in Colombia for corruption and illegal possession of weapons, after having participated in the practice of electoral fraud. Aída Marleno escaped Colombia and was arrested in Venezuela where she is still being held and from where she made her accusations against Duque. Marleno turned on Ivan Duque after he performatively asked the Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido to extradite her, knowing fully Guaido has no power to do so. Merlano commented that, “They do not want me to be extradited, because if they wanted to, they would ask the legitimate president, Nicolás Maduro, and not Guaido. It is a political and diplomatic absurdity to request extradition to Guaidó.” In addition to Duque, Marleno accused several current and former congress members and police officers of participating or benefiting from the same corruption scheme and organized crime. In a statement before the justice of Venezuela, Merlano accused Duque of wanting to assassinate her to silence her as she can reveal the direct ties between Uribe, Duque's government, and organized crime. In her 40-minute testimony, Merlano claimed she became the victim of a criminal conspiracy after trying to break away from her long-time lover Julio Gerlein. In early 2020, the authoritarian president of Colombia Nicolas Maduro publicly blackmailed Ivan Duque in change for amending diplomatic relations between Colombia and Venezuela. According to Venezuelan authorities, its intelligence agency SEBIN has been interrogating Merlano “and she has begun telling everything,” about Colombia's ruling class.
Ivan Duque and Juan Guaido
In 2019, the Colombia - U.S. backed opposition leader Juan Guaido was photographed by Venezuelan intelligence with members of Colombia's organized crime. Guaido posed with two leaders of Los Rastrojos which controls trafficking routes to Venezuela. These routes are used to smuggle illicit gasoline, traffick drugs, and traffick rape slaves. Members of Los Rastrojos organized crime group drove Juan Guaido from the border of San Cristobal to Agua Clara where Ivan Duque's helicopter was waiting for him. Juan Guaido was transported to President Ivan Duque to attend a concert organized by UK billionaire Richard Branson. Branson is linked to human traffickers Peter Nygard, Keith Raniere, Clare Bronfman Jeffrey Epstein. After Juan Guaido's trip with Colombian narcos to meet Ivan Duque was revealed, two massacres were committed in Agua Clara. One of the massacres killed the parents of one of the Narcos involved in the Guaido operation. A pro-Duque far right group called the "Aguilas Negras" later terrorized residents of Agua Clara and they who told them, “we are carrying out a cleansing.” Colombia’s police confirmed the ties between Juan Guaido and the organized crime group Los Rastrojos. The operation allowed Guaido to meet with US intelligence and coordinate an operation to attempt to weaken Nicolas Maduro. Former National Security Adviser John Bolton, former US ambassador Kevin Whitaker, and Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo coordinated with Guaido and Duque. The failed operation injured hundreds of people and led to Venezuela closing the border and breaking all diplomatic ties with the U.S. and Colombia.
Duque and the protests 2021
In April 2021, protests broke out throughout Colombia against tax hikes that would have directly impacted the countries most vulnerable people. The proposal of the Tax hike came amid the deadly COVID19 pandemic that President Duque completely mishandled and whose response he and his government are solely responsible for sabotaging. The 2021 demonstrations in Colombia are the culmination of a series of issues surrounding the Presidency of Ivan Duque such as organized crime, impunity, incompetence, and a public policy prioritizing the interests of the wealthy over those of the general public. Under Duque Colombia's poverty rate increased more than 42 percent as he spent US$9.2 billion on the military in 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic. While Duque lined the pockets of contractors and organized crime close to his government Colombia's hospitals struggled, often lacking basic necessities and PPE in key areas. Military expenditure represents 3.4 percent of GDP – higher than the world average of 2.4 percent. The Covid-19 pandemic in Colombia has so far claimed more than 75,000 lives, with daily deaths increasing. On top of that police and military violence against the civilian population has risen, as have state massacres. The number of people living in extreme poverty grew by 2.8 million people in 2020 amid coronavirus lockdowns that exacerbated the country’s deeply entrenched inequalities. In response to growing protests, Ivan Duque has chosen to declare war on unarmed civilians, referring to them as "terrorists" and "vandals", to justify human rights abuses under his command. Calling protestors "vandals" or "terrorists" is an internationally known propaganda terminology used by authoritarian governments preparing or in the process of committing crimes against humanity. The Duque government has participated in excessive and unnecessary use of force against an unarmed civilian population. Colombian troops and police under his authority murdered, tortured, raped, and injured dozens. They subjected hundreds of others to arbitrary detentions, while others have been disappeared.