By Dialogo June 23, 2011 On 20 June, Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzón warned about the risk to democracy from corruption, speaking at the opening of an OAS conference on that topic in Cali, in southwestern Colombia. “What is at issue here is the fight for democracy, and that means a frontal attack on corruption and impunity,” said Garzón, who spoke after the meeting was opened by the secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza. “Everything illegal conspires against democracy,” insisted Garzón, a former union leader in charge of human-rights policy and the fight against corruption in the country. “Crime’s two best allies in Colombia are corruption and impunity,” he added, after noting that armed groups of the left and the right operate in his country. Emphasizing the importance that the region’s governments should give to the fight against corruption, he said, “it’s a matter of defending democracy, because everything illegal is contrary to democracy.” “If we let them (corruption and impunity) advance, they will continue undermining democracy. The state is not the spoils of war,” he warned. Garzón assured the OAS secretary general that Colombia will be “especially receptive” to any recommendations that come out of the Cali meeting and said that in the continent, “laws against corruption have made progress, but it’s necessary to enforce them.” Cali hosted the Second Conference on Progress and Challenges in Hemispheric Cooperation against Corruption on 21 and 22 June.