Colombia’s powerful former president, Alvaro Uribe, fueled suspicion that he has authorized the illegal mining of private data to support his prodigy in ongoing elections.
Revelations that Cambridge Analytica (CA) stole private user data from social media platform Facebook to promote the 2016 election of US President Donald Trump and forced the United Kingdom out of the European Union spurred a scandal in Colombia.
According to the British PR company, it has been active in Colombia.
Are the ‘Uribistas’ hacking again?
Colombia’s industry regulator SIC on Wednesday ordered an investigation and an immediate shut-down of Pig.gi after CA claims it used the popular mobile application in political campaigning.
The makers of the app, which reportedly obtained private information of more than 1 million Colombians, deny this.
Uribe, who allegedly used fraud in all elections since 1995, said on Twitter that the SIC “seeks to construct a conspiracy theory against candidate Ivan Duque, accusing us of fake information.”
Duque, an ambitious member of a befriended political dynasty, has gone from virtual obscurity to leading the ongoing presidential race in the polls in a matter of months.
The inexperienced former Senator is mainly racing against the leftist Gustavo Petro, who has successfully denounced corruption, election fraud and human rights violations by the Uribe clan for more than a decade.
Uribe and Duque have been accusing the anti-corruption activist of being a communist who “wants to turn Colombia into a second Venezuela.”
Sometimes incited by far-right Uribe allies, Petro and other leftist candidates have been attacked on campaign.
Uribe’s biggest scandals
- The Supreme Court is investigating claims and evidence that Uribe and his brother formed far-right death squads in the 1990s.
- Paramilitary commanders said they sponsored his 2002 and 2006 presidential campaigns.
- Two “uribista” ministers are in prison for bribing congress to allow Uribe’s 2006 reelection.
- Uribe’s former chief of staff is in prison for wiretapping the Supreme Court in an unsuccessful attempt to frustrate “parapolitics” investigations against his cousin.
- The military executed more than 4,000 civilians when Uribe was president.
More powerful than Pablo
Uribe entered politics in the early 1980s, and has clashed with the country’s top courts for more than a decade over his murky ties and often illegal attempts to maintain power.
The Supreme Court is investigating the former President’s alleged involvement with far-right death squads.
El Espectador columnist Yohir Akerman reported that two sources from Uribe’s political party said that the powerful former president had hired Cambridge Analytica to manipulate public opinion.
Duque has come under fire for proposing to revoke the court that is investigating his political patron, and Uribe’s ongoing opposition to the peace process and criminal investigations.
Uribe’s 2014 candidate, Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, lost the elections after revelations his campaign had been using classified information to discredit peace talks for electoral purposes.
The former president’s 2016 campaign manager admitted to illegally using disinformation, or “fake news,” to sink the peace process in a referendum.
Colombia wil take to the polls for the first round in the presidential elections on May 27.