Alleged spying on the campaign of Colombia’s opposition candidate has escalated tensions ahead of Sunday’s presidential elections.
According to progressive candidate Gustavo Petro, opponents have been spying on the opposition for at least nine months.
“The Colombian Watergate”
Petro’s campaign chief, Alfonso Prada, urged a criminal investigation into “the Colombian Watergate.”
Pro-government media last week published edited videos of private meetings in which Petro and his campaign managers discussed strategies.
According to weekly Semana, an unknown “anonymous source” sent the controversial publication “hours” of “Petrovideos.”
Prada and Petro said the videos were recorded illegally and edited to falsely suggest that their campaign was involved in illegal activity.
The recordings have to do with the Zoom connections of the “Colombia Humana” platform and were not delivered by someone from the campaign, we verified that yesterday. The recordings weren’t made by anyone from the campaign, so no one from the campaign has sent them. The recordings were made by someone outside the campaign.
Senator Gustavo Petro
Journalist Gustavo Gomez confirmed that videos sent to Caracol Radio had been edited.
Petro’s “criminal gang”
In response to the videos, former candidate Federico Gutierrez pressed criminal charges against Petro’s “criminal gang,” claiming that opposition was involved in criminal activity.
Petro’s opponent in the second round of elections, liberal demagogue Rodolfo Hernandez, also referred to Petro’s campaign as criminals despite the questionable evidence.
The Prosecutor General’s Office responded that it would verify if the videos contain evidence that would justify a criminal investigation.
The prosecution also said that it will investigate the opposition’s claims that the videos were recorded illegally.
Semana under fire
The publication of the videos revived a public debate about the questionable “journalism” of Semana director Vicky Davila, who is a member of a notorious crime family.
Semana played a key role in the stigmatization of political opposition to President Ivan Duque, and anti-government protests that were held in 2019 and last year.
Following the publication of the videos, journalists accused Davila of being “corrupt” and violating journalist ethics.