Colombia’s most recent wiretapping scandal has not affected the government’s ongoing peace negotiations with the rebel group FARC in Cuba, the government’s chief negotiator told state-run program Urna de Cristal.
Humberto de la Calle — the chief negotiator in the government’s peace talks with Colombia’s largest guerrilla group — said that while there is no doubt that peace talk communications are being intercepted, the clandestine wiretapping centre uncovered on May 6 has so far not undermined the peace process.
The peace talks to end Colombia’s 50-year civil conflict have been taking place between the government and the FARC rebel group in Cuba since 2012.
“It would be dumb to say that its not true,” De la Calle told Urna de Cristal, “there are various indicators that suggest that negotiators in the peace talks are being surveilled.”
“It seems that there are private companies that sell the information,” added de la Calle.
De la Calle was referring to Colombia’s most recent wiretapping scandal, which revealed extensive surveillance of the peace negotiations in Cuba, and various prominent Colombian politicians, most likely including President Juan Manuel Santos.
The only suspect to have been arrested so far, Andres Sepulveda, was allegedly in possession of classified military intelligence including information about the government’s ongoing peace negotiations, and lists of demobilized guerrilla combatants.
Despite these revelations, de la Calle claims the peace talks have not been undermined.
“We negotiators will wait for the results of the investigation and will continue the peace negotiations, but we deserve to now the results as soon as possible…we are confident that the authorities will clarify this for us,” said de la Calle.
Sepulveda was arrested on Tuesday after agents from the Prosecutor General’s technical investigation team (CTI) raided an apartment in northern Bogota, where they discovered surveillance equipment used to intercept electronic communications.
Soon after his arrest it was discovered that Sepulveda had been employed by the campaign of Presidential candidate, Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, to assist with “information security.”
Following a flow of revelations in media over ties between the arrested spy and the Zuluaga campaign, the presidential candidate was forced to send out a press release in which it confirmed that Sepulveda and his wife, actress Lina Luna, had recently been working for the campaign.
The presidential candidate said that in February, Luna, “offered to put together a team which would support the campaign’s social network and information security, led by her husband Andres Sepulveda, and his brother Louis Carlos Sepulveda, with support from Jorge Ardila, her husband’s uncle.”
On Wednesday, the national tv station RCN broadcast a video showing Zuluaga’s campaign director, Luis Alfonso Hoyos, entering the RCN headquarters with Andres Sepulveda.
The network reported that Hoyos contacted RCN, offering to provide information about the leftist guerrilla organization FARC and president Juan Manuel Santos.
Though Hoyos denies any wrongdoing, the video has since led to his resignation as the director of Zuluaga’s campaign.
- “Chuzadas” no han afectado al proceso de paz, afirma De la Calle Lombana (Radio SantaFe)
- Humberto de la Calle pide celeridad en investigaciones por ‘chuzadas’ (La F.M)
- Urna de Cristal (Presidential Office Press Release)