Álvaro García Romero is a Colombian senator widely alleged to have strong ties to the paramilitaries who
dominate much of his home department of Sucre, on the Caribbean coast. Four Sucre provincial legislators tied to Sen. García were recently arrested on charges of working with paramilitaries.
Note how Thursday’s El Tiempo describes Sen. García:
García, a mysterious senator
Álvaro García is one of the most enigmatic senators in the Congress. He rarely speaks on the floor, his attendance is scarce, and he has no relations with the press.
A political boss in Sucre, during the last twelve years he has influenced in the election of the governor of that department, one of the most backward and most affected by the paramilitary phenomenon.
García is considered an unpredictable senator. "It’s never known how he is going to vote or if he is going to change his mind," says one of his colleagues, who prefers that his name not be published.
In the last Congress he is remembered as the target of a tough debate promoted by Gustavo Petro. [Petro, a former M-19 guerrilla, was a congressman - and now a senator - from the left-of-center Polo Democrático party.] In Sucre, the paramilitaries committed some of the most serious massacres that the country remembers, such as those in Chengue and Macayepo, and the Polo legislator questioned García for collaborating with those responsible for these massacres.
In the last elections he had difficulty finding a political party to align with, but he was elected.
In addition to having power in his department, his brother "Juancho" García was a senator with votes from Bolívar department. Now, this seat is occupied by his sister-in-law, Piedad Zuccardi.
This is a shining example of the "please read between the lines, we don’t want to be killed" writing style one sees very often in the Colombian press. Even to report this much, the author had to rely heavily on evidence that was already announced in a public forum by one very brave member of Colombia’s Congress.