Gustavo Pedro, Armando Benedetti and Laura Sarabia: 3 keys to understanding the corruption that broke the Colombian president’s inner circle | the world

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Gustavo Pedro, Armando Benedetti and Laura Sarabia: 3 keys to understanding the corruption that broke the Colombian president’s inner circle |  the world

The inner circle led Gustavo Pedro Loudly broke to power.

Two advisors who have been close to you in the past year, Laura Sarabia and Armando BenedettiA scandal involving cash dollars, insults, treason, polygraphs, wiretaps and suspicions of illegal campaign financing left the government on Friday.

Behold: La Pista, the old airport in Colombia where thousands of Venezuelans have taken refuge.

On Sunday some audio was released of a Colombian political director angry at Benedetti, Pedro and Sarabia. Among other important phrases he says, “We’ll all drown, we’ll all finish, we’ll all go to jail, we’ll finish all mothers“.

Benedetti assures that the audios are manipulated.

10 months ago, Gustavo Pedro, a former guerrilla and member of parliament, became the first left-wing president in the country’s history.

He cobbled together a coalition government filled with people who tempered his leftist personality and allayed fears created by his tenure as mayor of Bogotá, in which he battled half the world, including his closest advisers.

Today, less than a year into power, the situation is different: Much of the multiparty cabinet has been replaced by old colleagues of Petro’s, and the parliamentary coalition that wants to reform pensions and health care has weakened. The opposition has an arsenal of weapons to demand the resignation of the head of state and accuse the government of winning by cheating.

These are the three keys that allow us to understand the corruption that can be attributed to Pedro’s presidency.

Armando Benedetti is an experienced parliamentarian and political operator. (Getty Images).

1. Who’s who

Armando Benedetti He has 30 years of political life. He supported different governments: he went through Uripismo and Santos. He is more interested in power than ideology. Although the corruption charge against him was not proven – an investigation was conducted.

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When he realized that Pedro could become president, he approached him and became his right-hand man during the campaign.

Laura Sarabia Arrived at Pedro via Benedetti. A young and diligent military officer, seven years earlier he had been appointed by Benedetti as his private secretary. He was the bridge between the two in the campaign. By the age of 30, his influence had soared.

However, the three-pronged campaign ended with the presidencyPedro appointed Benedetti as ambassador to Venezuela, in charge of re-establishing relations marked by peace talks with the ELN guerrillas. An important character, but far away from Bogota.

SarabiaInstead, he moved from private secretary to chief officer. The two crises of Pedro’s ministers, in February and April, revealed the fact that his power, his ways, no one had that much influence over the president.

For the corruption equation Added Marelbys Meza, A babysitter who worked first with Benedetti fired him for an alleged robbery, then with Sarabia.

A report seven days earlier by Mesa to Semana newspaper (accused of opposing Pedro since he was a candidate) accused Sarabia of kidnapping him and tapping his phone for another robbery, sparking the scandal.

Laura Sarabia was 29 years old and considered a star official in Pedro’s cabinet. (Getty Images).

2. What are the details of corruption

Sarabia She got pregnant in the middle of the campaign and gave birth almost in time for the election. At no point did she put her work aside, so as soon as the government began, she hired Benedetti’s old nanny, despite her alleged history of looting.

In January, Mesa became the prime suspect in an investigation into the disappearance of $7,000 from Sarabia’s home. Police officers and the prosecutor’s office did just that Submit to polygraphA raid on the Palacio de Nareno, the same headquarters of the Presidency, where he felt “kidnapped and threatened”.

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To further complicate the situation, when Mesa was already fired by Sarabia, Benedetti called her and rehired her to take care of his children in Caracas, arriving on a private plane, according to well-known Colombian journalist Daniel Coronel.

On Wednesday, Attorney General Francisco Barbosa, a government appointee close to Ivan Duque, denounced him at a press conference. The trial of this case created a parallel judicial systemMeza’s trial was illegal and illegal wiretapping was back in a country shocked by violations of political rights.

Saturday began as a domestic crime, and the following Friday was already a national scandal.

Pedro later announced the departure of Sarabia and Benedetti, adding: “This government does not illegally intercept the communications of magistrates, judges, journalists, opponents. We take care of the protesters because they are in our charge and nothing will happen to them.”

This Sunday, Semana magazine released some heated audio in which Benedetti appears to be telling Sarabia that they have isolated him and threatening to reveal someone’s details. Illegal campaign financing.

Pedro has said that if Congress does not approve the reforms, his people will take to the streets and protest. Mobilizations have already begun. (Getty Images).

3. What are the possible consequences?

The scandal seizes Pedro at a difficult moment: Approval of his key health, pension and labor reforms is pending approval in Congress, where he has no leadership in the Senate or a clear coalition, and his peace talks with armed groups are weakening.

The scandal disrupts the alliance and complicates the agenda“, says Yann Basset, a political scientist at the Universidad del Rosario. “But he focuses on Pedro instead of the congressmen and the political class.”

“The obvious danger for the government is that it will have to devote its energies to responding to corruption and defending itself and not to the reform agenda, raising fears of a paralyzed government,” says Yassed.

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Corruption, the political scientist says, canceled the memory of the Ernesto Chamber government in response to allegations that the campaign received money from drug trafficking.

Silvia Otero, a political scientist, says: “Although there is still no evidence of irregular financing, there is a political scandal, and probably, especially with this (opposition) lawyer, an investigation will be opened in Congress. Pedro does not have a majority.

“Therefore, Next is damage control: The government is dedicated to controlling the consequences of these statements by Benedetti and it certainly eliminates maneuverability”.

During his mayoralty in Bogotá, Pedro ruled alone, and much of his administration was devoted to defending himself. He usually attributes the reaction created by the profound and unprecedented change he presents. He has three years and two months left in his reign.

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