Colombia’s National Police Caught in Prostitution Scandal

Last week, Colombia's Prosecutor General Alejandro Ordoñez formally opened an investigation into Gen. Rodolfo Palomino, the country's recently resigned National Police chief over his alleged involvement in a gay prostitution ring being run within the force.

The so-called "Comunidad del Anillo" (Community of the Ring) was exposed by a number of former cadets at the General Santander Police Academy in Bogotá, who said top police officials and congressmen used the sexual services of cadets. Both Palomino and vice-minister of the Interior Carlos Ferro Solanilla resigned last month after the prosecutor general announced the impending investigation. One police captain who came forward claims he was drugged and raped by members of the ring.

And the scandal has prompted a second investigation into claims of wiretapping and intimidation of journalists by the National Police. Eduardo Montealegre, head of the Fiscalía General (the special prosecutor for criminal cases), announced the investigation after complaints by journalist Vicky Davila of radio station LA FM, claiming that she, "her family and her journalistic team" were tailed by spies, received threats and had their communications bugged.  Caracol Radio journalist Claudia Morales also came forward with similar claims. Both had covered the Palomino case. 

Jorge Nieto, the newly appointed National Police chief, took office pledging a "new era" in the force. But ironically, Palomino himself had issued much of the same rhetoric over the past two years in response to relentless revelations of internal corruption.

Last year, National Police officers were accused of procuring prostitues for U.S. DEA agents in sex parties underwritten by narco-traffickers. The year before that, a ring of 19 National Police agents in Medellín were busted on charges of protecting cocaine dealers in the city.

And in another blow for Colombia's political establishment, last month agents of the Fiscalía arrested Santiago Uribe Vélez, brother of former president and current right-wing senator Álvaro Uribe Vélez, for alleged involvement in the bloody "12 Apostles" paramilitary group.  

(Photo Courtesy of Deviant Art)

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