Colombian Congress Approves 14th Salary for Armed Forces: Centro Democrático Denies Wilson Arias’ Claim about Álvaro Uribe

In a landmark decision, the Colombian Congress approved the incorporation of the 14th salary for veterans of the armed forces into the country’s Constitution. With a total of 101 positive votes and none against, the Legislative Act Project was passed during the eighth and final debate in a plenary session. Various lawmakers expressed their satisfaction with the approval of the project, spearheaded by President Gustavo Petro’s government. The next step involves reconciliation to harmonize the texts discussed in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

One of the key figures in this debate was Senator Wilson Arias from the Historical Pact, who claimed that former President Álvaro Uribe had removed the 14th salary from soldiers, police officers, and veterans back in 2005. In response to Arias’ statement, the Centro Democrático party accused him of making «fallacious» comments. Senator Wilson Arias praised the current government’s initiative to reinstate this benefit for the Military Forces after it was removed by Álvaro Uribe in 2005.

Following Arias’ criticism of former President Álvaro Uribe, the Centro Democrático political party responded by stating, «Senator, as always, your comments are fallacious and lack technical support.» They clarified that Álvaro Uribe never eliminated the 14th salary, emphasizing that it has always been a right for members of the Armed Forces thanks to the former president.

Regarding the approval of the project, Vice Minister of Defense Edmundo Suárez highlighted that approximately 244,000 families would benefit from this economic support, amounting to nearly $1 billion from the security and national defense sector budget. The organization Reserva Moral de Colombia, comprised of retired military and police personnel, expressed their gratitude for the approval of the proposal, considering it a recognition of the sacrifices made by uniformed individuals.

Moving forward, veterans of the Armed Forces and the National Police, along with their beneficiaries, will now receive an additional income in addition to the 13 salaries established by law. This change will be implemented through an amendment to Article 48 of the Colombian Constitution.