Elsa Gladys Cifuentes has resigned as Colombia’s consul to New York in the middle of an investigation into a festival she organized through two private companies that would have been the primary beneficiaries of the event.
The consul had previously been suspended after allegedly collecting votes in a biased manner for congressional candidates to the 9 March elections.
The consul and ex-governor of Risaralda state was also investigated in July over financial irregularities, which included a former employee of the consulate continuing to receive money even though she had finished her contract, the consul allegedly promoting and benefiting from the activities of the Laudum Education Institute, and spending public funds on private matters.
News of the resignation was delivered in a letter in which Cifuentes said: “Working on behalf of the Government of Prosperity and Peace and for you all has been an inspiration… I have submitted my letter of resignation as Consul General and the President has seen fit to appoint an exemplary professional who will begin their duties on December 16”.
The new consul will be Dr. Maria Isabel Nieto, who until recently served as adviser to President Juan Manuel Santos.
There are nine Colombian consulates in various cities (including San Juan, Puerto Rico) across the United States and the primary embassy is in Washington DC.