DEA Intercepts Reveal the Involvement of Drug Trafficker’s Wife in President Petro’s Campaign in Casanare
Various intercepted conversations by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Colombian prosecutor’s office, and the police have uncovered the involvement and support of a drug trafficker and his wife in President Gustavo Petro’s campaign in the Casanare department in 2022.
In recordings made public by a local television network, it has been confirmed that Juan Carlos Lopez Macias, also known as ‘El Sobrino,’ and his wife, Sandra Navarro, had a role within the Historical Pact committee in the region. This revelation contradicts the initial statement made by the head of state on August 13, 2023, when the first part of this complaint emerged. It appears that the wife of ‘El Sobrino’ not only participated but also played a significant role in supporting the then-candidate Petro.
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The media has exposed a series of conversations that highlight the considerable influence of Lopez Macias’s spouse in the campaign that led the leftist leader to the presidency, following his victory over engineer Rodolfo Hernández.
Intercepted Conversation Sparks Senator’s Political Career
One conversation, dated March 12, 2022, reveals how Sonia Bernal, a Senate candidate for the Historical Pact at the time, allegedly sought financial assistance from Navarro to fund her campaign. Interestingly, Sonia later assumed the role of political director for the community in the department after her Senate bid failed.
According to reports, even the drug trafficker Juan Carlos López closely monitored the election results on that day. He expressed concern that the Historical Pact might not secure victory, as heard in one of the audio recordings disclosed by a television channel. He questioned, “How can we ensure they won’t lose ground?”.
In a video posted on social networks, Sonia Bernal, the former director of the Petro en Casanare campaign, stated that there were no contributions to the campaign’s financing from Sandra Navarro, the wife of the drug trafficker known as ‘El Sobrino’. She mentioned that she was unaware of his background and the identity of his partner.
Impact on Petro’s Campaign Integrity
The revelations about Navarro’s involvement have raised serious questions about the integrity of Petro’s campaign. It disrupts the previously accepted narrative and poses concerns about the legitimacy of the campaign, especially in areas like Casanare where Navarro and ‘El Sobrino’ were reportedly active. The involvement of individuals linked to illicit activities in a political campaign can potentially influence the democratic process and the governance that follows.
Adding to the political turmoil, the president’s son, Nicolas Petro, has been arrested as part of a high-profile money laundering investigation. The inquiry revolves around funds he allegedly amassed from convicted drug traffickers during the presidential campaign. The president, despite his personal anguish, has assured non-interference with the process, pledging to uphold the rule of law.
The accusations against Nicolas Petro were brought to light by his former wife, Daysuris del Carmen Vasquez. She claimed to have information about meetings where her former husband negotiated a substantial donation from a once-convicted drug trafficking politician. This politician sought the Petro campaign’s support to resurrect his political career.
Political Backlash and Struggles for Bipartisan Support
Nicolas Petro’s arrest has dealt a significant blow to the government. The current administration has been grappling with conservative attacks while striving to retain bipartisan support for Colombia in the US, a long-standing ally in the war on drugs and the fight against illegal armed groups.
In August, President Gustavo Petro appointed lawyer Mauricio Pava to represent him in Congress during the forthcoming proceedings linked to alleged electoral misconduct during his campaign.
The ongoing proceedings center on accusations brought forward by the President’s former daughter-in-law, Daysuris Vasquez. She has alleged irregularities in campaign financing during the 2022 elections. This assertion has been supported by Nicolás Petro Burgos, the President’s eldest son.
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