Critics on Wednesday called for the resignation of Colombian presidential candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga after national TV said his campaign director tried to provide information obtained through illegal wiretapping.
RCN broadcast a video showing Zuluaga’s campaign director, Luis Alfonso Hoyos, entering the RCN headquarters with Andres Sepulveda, a campaign worker who was arrested on Tuesday for illegally wiretapping the communications of peace talks negotiation teams and, according to Colombia’s Prosecutor General, “probably” the president himself.
Hoyos then made an appointment with the network’s director, Rodrigo Pardo, and attended the meeting on April 8 with another man, whom Hoyos introduced as an intelligence expert.
RCN revealed on Wednesday that the individual accompanying Hoyos was Andres Sepulveda, the primary suspect in the investigation of the alleged illegal spying carried out in support of Zuluaga’s campaign.
New video sparks outrage
A number of Colombian politicians have expressed their outrage at Wednesday’s allegations.
According to El Espectador, Representative Guillermo Rivera said that if Zuluaga’s campaign is as transparent as the candidate claims it is, then Zuluaga must resign if it is proven that his campaign director was involved in the wiretapping scandal.
“What was reported is very serious and if the captured suspect reveals that there was a premeditated effort to sabotage the peace process, then the campaign is ethically and legally corrupt, and the candidate should resign,” Rivera said.
Blu Radio has quoted Liberal senator Juan Fernando Cristo as saying, “I respect Oscar Ivan Zuluaga but the lights have gone out for his campaign.”
Senator Armando Benedetti, of Santos’ U Party, has taken to Twitter to accuse the candidate, calling on Colombia’s former vice president, Francisco “Pacho” Santos, to take his place.
“If what Rodrigo Pardo said is true, and Zuluaga is complicit, then the Center Democratic party will be left without a candidate. Get ready Pacho”
“Pacho Santos should prepare himself as candidate, because Zuluaga is the hacker’s boss and should face criminal charges!”
Links between Zuluaga and wiretap campaign
Sepulveda was arrested Tuesday after agents from the Prosecutor General’s technical investigation team (CTI) raided an apartment in northern Bogota, where they discoverd surveillance equipment used to intercept electronic communications.
The suspect was allegedly in possession of classified military intelligence including information about the government’s ongoing peace negotiations in Havana, and lists of demobilized guerrilla combatants.
Soon after his arrest, it was discovered that Sepulveda had recently been employed by the Zuluaga campaign 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.”
Colombia’s prosecutor general Eduardo Montealegre announced Wednesday morning that “there is no evidence that would allow us to establish a relationship between the illegal activities of Andres Sepulveda and the Zuluaga campaign.”
This article is currently being updated