Cerrar Menú Blogs
Las opiniones de los blogueros son de su estricta responsabilidad y no representan la opinión de este portal.
Profile image

Ingresa o regístrate acá para seguir este blog.

Seguir este blog

There’s an old but still very relevant joke that does the rounds in Colombia. It goes something like this:

Bogotá DC: A city, like the rest of Colombia, blighted by corruption.

Bogotá and Colombia: Blighted by corruption. (Photo: Pieter Hupkes.)

A prominent Colombian politician is invited to a major Canadian (insert any ‘First World’ country there) city by its mayor. On arrival, the visiting official is transported in style to the mayor’s residence – an impressive, three-storey mansion hidden away on the outskirts of the city. The esteemed guest is treated to a grand meal served with the finest of cutlery in splendid surroundings.

Somewhat amazed at all the luxury on display, the Colombian politician asks his host where he got all the money to finance such opulence. The Canadian invites his visitor to the balcony: “You see that bridge over there” the mayor says, pointing to a spectacular construction spanning a nearby river, “well 10 per cent of the cost of that is in my pocket.” The Colombian nods appreciatively.

A year later, the favour is returned, with the Canadian mayor invited to the Colombian politician’s home place. Not expecting much, the North American is pleasantly surprised to be picked up from the airport in a top-of-the-range, German stretch limo and transported to a quite stunning, castle-like residence. In the wining and dining department, no expense is spared.

Puzzled as to how this ‘developing world’ politician could afford all that was on show, the mayor quizzes the Colombian about it. The host escorts his guest to the top-floor viewing deck and tells him to look out at the bridge down in the city below. The visitor looks hard for a time, then turns and in bemusement says, “But I can’t see anything.” “Well, you see,” the Colombian informs his new friend, “100 per cent of the cost of that ‘bridge’ is in my pocket.”

So there you have it. A case of, you might say, ‘all politicians are corrupt, but some are more corrupt than others.’ That’s generally how most Colombians view those pulling the strings in this country. And, considering all that has happened and continues to happen here, such as the apparently ubiquitous phantom public projects highlighted in the ‘joke’, you couldn’t blame them.

Diamond Joe Quimby, representative of most Colombian officials? Image from chrisdematteo.com

The Simpsons’ Mayor Quimby: It seems he’d fit in well in Colombia. Power corrupts and all that … throw in money and those greedy for it, and you’ve got a very toxic mix. (Image from chrisdematteo.com.)

Now I must state that previously I’d been impressed with how Colombian courts dealt with those found guilty of corruption. For example, last year you had a former agriculture minister, Andrés Felipe Arias, sentenced to 17 years imprisonment and fined some 12 million euro for embezzlement. (Ireland, take note; although do note that said minister is still ‘enjoying’ his freedom on the run in the USA.)

However, in light of recent scandals, it appears that even some of the watchdogs, that is to say the courts and their top judges, are not free of the ‘briefcase influence’. Thus, the justice system has now been called into question.

In a country with a number of under-the-counter, illegitimate businesses on the go, many of those linked to powerful, illegal drug lords, that corruption seems to be endemic perhaps isn’t too surprising. Money is rather vociferous in these parts, regardless of where it comes from.

Yes, there are, at least at face value, genuine forces working to try and combat this culture. The task at hand, though, is monumental.*

Plus, considering it’s difficult to know who exactly is straight, it begs the question, ‘Who can you trust?’ ‘Not many’ is the most prudent answer.
*For a previous piece giving an example of Colombian double standards, see Soft touch Colombia.

Facebook: Wrong Way Corrigan – The Blog.

(Visited 721 times, 1 visits today)
Profile image

La vida en Colombia desde la perspectiva de un periodista y locutor irlandés, quien ha vivido en el país desde 2011. El blog explora temas sociales y culturales, interacción con los nativos, viajes, actualidades y mucho más. Escucha su podcast acá: https://anchor.fm/brendan-corrigan.

Más posts de este Blog

Ver más

Lo más leído en Blogs


A partir del 15 de julio de 2024, se presentará en(...)


Después de un año de la fusión de los noticieros de(...)


Mujeres que tienen que pedir permiso para desarrollar su voluntad.  Mujeres(...)

0 Comentarios
Ingresa aquí para que puedas comentar este post
Reglamento de comentarios

ETCE no se responsabiliza por el uso y tratamiento que los usuarios le den a la información publicada en este espacio de recomendaciones, pero aclara que busca ser la sombrilla de un espacio donde el equilibrio y la tolerancia sean el eje. En ese camino, disponemos de total libertad para eliminar los contenidos que:

  1. Promuevan mensajes tipo spam.
  2. El odio ante una persona o comunidad por su condición social, racial, sexual, religiosa o de situación de discapacidad.
  3. Muestren o impulsen comportamientos o lenguajes sexualmente explícitos, violentos o dañinos.
  4. Vulneren o atenten contra los derechos de los menores de edad.

Además, tenga en cuenta que:

  • - El usuario registrado solo podrá hacer un voto y veto por comentario.
¿Encontraste un error?

Para EL TIEMPO las observaciones sobre su contenido son importantes. Permítenos conocerlas para, si es el caso, tomar los correctivos necesarios, o darle trámite ante las instancias pertinentes dentro de EL TIEMPO Casa Editorial.

Debes escribir el comentario
¡Gracias! Tu comentario ha sido guardado
Tu calificación ha sido registrada
Tu participación ya fue registrada
Haz tu reporte
Debes escribir tu reporte
Tu reporte ha sido enviado con éxito
Debes ser usuario registrado para poder reportar este comentario. Cerrar