Flooding sweeps Colombia: 1.5 million affected
On Saturday the Red Cross announced that the intense rain that has swept over Colombia over the last few weeks had left 174 people dead, 225 wounded and 19 disappeared. The situation, which has affected more than 95% of the country, intensified on Saturday in many areas as the rain refused to cease in more than 12 hours. Due to the nature of the emergency President Juan Carlos Santos cut short his stay at the Ibero-American Summit in Argentina, flying to the north of the country to inspect flooded areas, as the government announced a further 300,000 million Colombian pesos to aid the more than 1.5 million victims of the disaster.
This week Viviane Morales was elected as Colombia´s new Prosecutor General, the first female to occupy the position. This put a close to the 16 month period in which the post had been occupied temporarily by Guillermo Mendoza as the Supreme Court of Justice and ex-President Uribe failed to agree over a suitable candidate. The scandal over the illegal wiretapping of Supreme Court judges has been interpreted as one of the reasons the Court refused to elect any of Uribe´s candidates. Meanwhile, the acceptance of President Santos´ shortlist seems to show the improved relation between the executive and judicial branches under his leadership.
Morales herself criticized Uribe´s declaration that he had advised his former aides, accused in the wiretapping scandal, to seek asylum abroad claiming the justice system would not guarantee them a fair trial. Morales has also cancelled the court hearing, scheduled for 13th December, in which DAS director Maria del Pilar Hurtado and former President Alvaro Uribe’s chief of staff Bernardo Moreno were to be charged for their alleged role in the wiretapping scandal. She announced that further consideration of the case must be made before any court hearing.
At the Ibero-American summit this week Colombia presented the ex-Chancellor María Emma Mejia as a candidate to replace the deceased Néstor Kirchner as Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur). Venezuela also announced that it would present Alí Rodríguez Araque as a possible candidate. Whilst no agreement was reached on Friday over who would be the new Secretary General the Colombian government expressed its confidence in the election of Mejía as Kirchner´s successor. The fact that the Santos government has bidded to lead the block of South American nations indicates the change in policy from the previous government, which expressed its reservations about entering Unasur.