Jose Felix Lafaurie, president of the Colombian Federation of Livestock Breeders (Fedegan) and husband of María Fernanda Cabal, candidate of the Democratic Center for the Senate, came out to respond to complaints about alleged pressures being exerted by her association in the face of the Congress elections. b>.
A letter signed by the livestock organization Dignidad Agropecuaria indicates that Fedegan would be conditioning the delivery of vaccinesto livestock farmers in exchange for votesto the Cabal campaign.
“For more than 20 days, in various headquarters of ranchers’ organizations, calls have been made by Fedegan officials that they should support María Fernanda Cabal”, points to the letter signed by Oscar Gutiérrez Reyes, executive president of Dignidad Agropecuaria Colombiana.
Specifically, the complaint indicates that the officials are being asked for quotas of number of votes that they should get from favor of the uribista congresswoman and, if they did not reach them, they would not deliver the necessary medicines for the cattle.
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“They are blackmailing them that, if they don’t do it, they will give them or renew the management of the foot-and-mouth disease vaccination cycle (…) This pressure on ranchers and their organizations occurs in various parts of the country. It seems that it responds to a national order given to Fedegan officials, so that they press the vote in favor of Mrs. María Fernanda Cabal”, the document reads.
For Dignidad Agropecuaria, the survival of livestock organizations depends largely on the support of Fedegan and a restriction on vaccines would affect their finances, since there are strong restrictions on unvaccinated livestock.
Thus, they have launched an alert of alleged vote buying and have requested the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Rodolfo Enrique Zea, and the Comptroller General, Felipe Córdoba, to carry out an administrative control investigation against Fedegan.
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The organization – which according to its website was born with the aim of defending and promoting the development of the country’s agricultural sector to achieve sovereignty food – also indicates that the centers of the livestock organizations “are coming with propaganda from the candidate to demand that it be posted at the headquarters of the organizations”.
Finally, they say that this campaign, which “is accompanied of undue pressure on the Livestock Executing Organizations, (Oegas)”, is being carried out in several regions of the country. “With databases they allow them to have control over the places where the vaccinators and staff of the livestock organizations vote,” he says the document.
In an exclusive interview with EL TIEMPO, Lafaurie categorically denied these accusations. President of Fedegan, the complaint responds to a political campaign in favor of the candidate Jorge Enrique Robledo. “Óscar Gutiérrez created Dignidad Agropecuaria to support, for many years, the Democratic Pole and, of course, Robledo. There is a campaign in favor of him,” he indicates.
He also assures that that letter is full of “infamies and falsehoods”, because “the organizations that carry out the vaccination campaign are not chosen by Fedegan, but are defined, through a regulated process, by the Colombian Institute Agricultural (ICA), therefore, if a union wants to support María Fernanda (Cabal) or not, it is within its rights.
Lafaurie indicates that, if the congresswoman has “support” and “appreciation” from the livestock union, it is not because of pressure but because she herself has helped the country’s livestock organizations, “through the Colombia Livestock Foundation , which she founded in 2006, to make livestock victims visible”. She also says that Cabal “has been doing social responsibility work” with this guild.
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Despite this, it highlights that “ranchers and unions are subjects that act within the framework of private law, that is, they have their right to support her (the Cabal) or not.”
Although the president of Fedegan accepts that he has invited people to vote for the Uribe congresswoman, he is emphatic in assuring that neither he nor his union have made direct requests and, much less, imposed restrictions. “Can I say to a rancher, ‘you have to vote for María Fernando Cabal?’ I can’t. But I can tell him: would you like to vote for María Fernanda Cabal? Why can’t I say it?”
It also says that, if the Colombian Agricultural Dignity complaint is true, the Cabal would obtain between 1 and 2 million votes, taking into account that in Colombia, according to Lafaurie, there are 700,000 ranchers.
Finally, he assures that the resources that, by contract with the nation, Fedegan manages through the National Livestock Fund, “are permanently monitored, both by the Ministry (of Agriculture) and by the Comptroller’s Office.”
Fedegan also highlights that the second cycle of vaccination against foot-and-mouth disease in 2021 – carried out between November 2 and December 16 – achieved a coverage of 98.7% of the bovine herd and buffalo in the country, according to the final report of the aforementioned immunization day released by the ICA and the National Livestock Fund (FNG). to magistrates).