Presidential candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga announced on Monday that he will not renounce his candidacy in spite of calls for him to do so over a video in which the hardliner appeared to be briefed on allegedly illegally obtained military information.
Zuluaga, candidate of the Democratic Center for Sunday’s upcoming presidential elections, said in a press conference that there was “no reason” for him to give up his candidacy.
The ally of former President Alvaro Uribe is heavily implicated in a hacking scandal currently rocking the country, in which he was filmed visiting a hacker who has been accused of illegally obtaining classified information related to the ongoing peace talks between the government and rebel group FARC, as well as spying on government officials.
Zuluaga has been called upon to resign from the race by other candidates as well as facing a possible criminal prosecution.
“Throughout my public life I have maintained a straight and honest behavior. I am a family man of strong moral and ethical convictions, who has fought 27 years for a different Colombia, for peace without impunity and with social inclusion,” said Zuluaga.
|“It is clear that at 3 minutes and 33 seconds and 5 minutes and 2 seconds there has been an edit. At such times it is possible to verify that the video is cut, but the sound remains the same. After 5 minutes the cut is so crude you do not need experts to determine that the video is a montage”|
Zuluaga reiterated previous and seemingly improbable claims, in light of the released video, that the video is a “montage.”
He accused the disgraced campaign manager of incumbent Juan Manuel Santos‘ campaign, Juan Jose Rendon, of using dirty tricks to undermine his campaign, in a similar way that he had already done in Mexico, Venezuela, El Salvador and Panama.
Rendon resigned from the reelection campaign of Santos following allegations that he received $12 million from drug traffickers to negotiate “favorable” terms for their surrender.
Zuluaga went into details and said that, “it is clear that at 3 minutes and 33 seconds and 5 minutes and 2 seconds there has been an edit. At such times it is possible to verify that the video is cut, but the sound remains the same. After 5 minutes the cut is so crude you do not need experts to determine that the video is a montage.”
“Our experts are investigating whether the sound is compatible with the image,” continued the candidate.
Zuluaga also defended his inconsistencies in previous statements he made regarding his knowledge of hacker Andres Sepulveda.
When in a radio interview Zuluaga had previously said that he had not visited the offices of hacker Sepulveda, he declared that, “at that moment I could not remember,” arguing that it was, “from 1000 [interviews] that I’ve done in my campaign.” He said he didn’t have a stopwatch to, “remember how long the visit lasted.”
He further defended his previous statements, citing, “20-hour days and dozens of daily meetings,” as the reason for his inaccurate statements concerning his meetings with Sepulveda.
“It is absurd that it is now intended to create a scandal over alleged wiretapping from our campaign by alleged participants in these negotiations,” said Santos.
Finally, Zuluaga warned that the “dirty war” campaign of incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos would be, “new videos and new traps that seek to undermine our campaign.”
He finished by calling out his voters and declared, “I reiterate my call for good Colombians who support our ideas to join us this May 25, to massively vote at the polls. We will win.”