Although the possibility is minimal, the Minister of Finance, Alberto Carrasquilla, could leave office if the Congress so decides
The scandal that the denunciations against the Finance Minister, Alberto Carrasquilla caused, also generated a strong fight between the opposition parties and the coalition of parties that supports President Iván Duque in the Congress. While the opposition demands the resignation of Carrasquilla, the government coalition defends the minister's management and supports him to continue in office, just as President Duque has done.
Last Tuesday, September 18, a debate on political control against Minister Carrasquilla was held in Congress. This was framed by the controversy, not only by the revelations and accusations of the opposition, but by the confrontation between it and the government coalition, accused by Senator Robledo of trying to sabotage the debate against the Finance Minister, as explained in Semana magazine.
Except the government officials (Democratic Center, Conservative Party, sectors of the Liberal Party, most of Cambio Radical, Colombia Justa Libres, among others), the opposition (Polo Democrático, Decentes, Colombia Humana, Alianza Verde and even some members of Cambio Radical, like senator Rodrigo Lara) ratified its demand.
Days before the debate against Minister Carrasquilla, the possibility of applying the motion of censure to separate the Minister from his office was discussed in political circles and the media. Although in the past this figure has been tried against other ministers, it has never succeeded, either because the vote is insufficient or because the ministers that have been voted for have resigned or been relieved of their positions before the Congress votes the motion
However, with what happened last Tuesday, September 18 in the debate on political control, the possibility that the Congress processes a motion of censure against Carrasquilla remains in force. Although the antecedents indicate that that possibility is remote, the support to Duque in the Congress is majority but not absolute.
For its part, the opposition, which is firm in its intention to demand the resignation of Carrasquilla, has so far shown itself united and working as a bloc to counterbalance the government coalition and the same executive led by Iván Duque.
If eventually the motion of censure against the Finance Minister prospers, Iván Duque's government would suffer a severe blow that would affect its legitimacy, considering the facts for which Carrasquilla is questioned. Added to this are other events that have aroused outrage and nonconformity, such as the decree allowing the police to seize the minimum dose and the appointment of former prosecutor Alejandro Ordóñez as Colombia's ambassador at OAS.
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Carrasquilla Bonds: the controversy of the Finance Minister
The controversy of Carrasquilla arose from the denunciations made by the senator of the Polo Democrático, Jorge Robledo, and the journalist Daniel Coronell. According to media such as La Patria and Semana magazine, both agree on questioning the way in which, presumably, Carrasquilla would have been enriched with the water and basic sanitation resources of 117 municipalities in the country, in what is known as "Carrasquilla Bonds". .
The so-called "Carrasquilla Bonds" are a series of credits granted to the municipalities for the execution of aqueduct and sewerage works, whose objective was to solve the deficiencies in basic sanitation existing in those places.
However, almost a decade after the municipalities involved committed their resources with these credits, most of the works have not been carried out. The few that began their execution are adrift due to the cost overruns generated and remaining, despite the fact that the municipalities are still indebted and paying very high interest.
That is why the question of Carrasquilla is given, because while he was Finance Minister in the government of Alvaro Uribe Velez managed the creation of a law that allowed municipalities to acquire the aforementioned credits.
After the enactment of that law and no longer serving as Minister, Carrasquilla and other partners created a company called Konfigura Capital, which subsequently advised the municipalities to acquire those credits with which he would obtain large profits derived from the interest paid on those debts.
Carrasquilla is also questioned for being one of the Colombians involved in the famous Panama Papers, and in that case the company created by him and his associates is related, according to Periodismo Público.
LatinAmerican Post | Samuel Augusto Gallego Suárez
Translated from "Colombia: ¿Qué pasará con el ministro de Hacienda Alberto Carrasquilla?"