“The councilman of Barranquilla for the Green Alliance, Andrés Rengifo, has had actions that resemble those of ex-congressman Jonathan Tamayo, known as ‘Manguito,'” according to a report presented by the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation, which also details his alliances with one of the most powerful political clans in that city.
to begin with, when Jaime Pumarejo took office as mayor of Barranquilla, the Green declared itself an opposition party. On January 31, 2020, they issued a “constructive and autonomous” opposition statement against the local government. This meant that, of the 21 seats in the City Council, three were going to counterbalance the current administration: Recer Lee Pérez, Antonio Eduardo Bohórquez (both from pole) and Andrés Rengifo.
However, the opposition made by Rengifo, according to various requests from other members of the Green Party, has been rather “discreet”: a review of the 198 minutes of the plenary sessions of the Council in the periods 2020, 2021 and those that will of 2022 show that the greatest opposition was exercised by Bohórquez and that, in contrast, that made by Rengifo was minimal.
“In political control debates, his role was quite poor. This was illustrated in the debate on political control of the Mayor’s Office of Barranquilla and the District Infrastructure Agency (ADI)”, details Pares in his report. But although Rengifo promoted the summons to the debate, he had very few interventions in the session and he did not rule on, for example, the issues around the level of indebtedness of the ADI.
Added to this, Pares points out that the councilor, being from the opposition, would be benefiting from bureaucratic quotas granted in the Pumarejo administration reflected in contracts delivered to people who worked with him in his campaign or who have been close to him, and although there is a void in which opposition participation in the government through bureaucracy is not a crime, article 29 of Law 1909 of 2018 establishes that they may not be appointed to positions of political or administrative authority in the government or in the following 12 months while they remain the statement in opposition, the following persons:
1. “Those who are or have been members of the management, government, control and administration bodies of the political organizations declared in opposition, both at the national, departmental, district and municipal levels.”
2. “Those who have been candidates for office of popular election endorsed by them, elected or not.”
Camilo Díaz, a national investigator for Peace and Reconciliation, told infobae colombia that the execution of these contracts with people close to them is a conflictive act, because “although it is not a crime, it does raise questions about the impartiality or independence of Andrés Rengifo to exercise his opposition.” Likewise, he said that the performance of the councilor responds to a possible participation in the current local government.
For Julio Andrade, Barranquilla youth counselor of the Green Party, the granting of these contracts would have the purpose of taking over the departmental decisions made by the community in Atlántico. In fact, in a dialogue with this outlet, he emphasized that Rengifo’s political record is totally opposite to what the Greens represent in the country. “I came from voting in the consultation for Alejandro Ordóñez, I came from supporting —Iván— Duque; he came from the U Party and supported Alex Char to the mayor of Barranquilla”, but with everything and that they gave him the endorsement of the party he currently represents.
In addition, through an Andrade certificate resulting from a complaint filed by José Rodríguez, these contracting processes were allegedly “flawed to hold the party’s departmental convention”; and although the Pares report states that contracts were given to eight people, the counselor explained to this outlet that there could be more than 10. His relationship with the Torres Villalba clan, one of the most powerful in Atlántico and one of the most powerful in the Atlantic, is also being questioned. Barranquilla and who have as an ally the Colombian ambassador in Venezuela, Armando Benedetti.
“Andrés Rengifo is the nephew of Pedro Juan Lemus Navarro, who has been an ally of the Torres Villalba political house (…) recent events continue to reveal the closeness of Andrés Rengifo to the Torres Villalba political house. In the second presidential round, he supported Gustavo Petro’s aspiration, holding events with Senator Pedro Flórez and his uncle, Pedro Lemus, ”explains the Peace and Reconciliation document.
Infobae Colombia tried to communicate with councilor Rengifo, who told this medium that Pares’s publication is “biased and biased” and that it has political purposes, since he asserted that this foundation is close to various characters, including Andrade himself, ” who today sees his permanence in the Departmental Board of the Green Party in danger and has always been close to that foundation together with his great friend, former candidate for Council Allan Paternina”.