Colombian President Petro vows non-interference following arrest of son for alleged money laundering

July 30, 2023
Ben Marquis

There are serious allegations that the prominent son of an American president has engaged in political corruption and money laundering for which he should be arrested and prosecuted.

That is not a reference to President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, but rather South America's Colombian President Gustavo Petro and his son Nicholas, who was actually arrested on Saturday on allegations of corrupt money laundering, the Washington Examiner reported.

Those allegations originated with the ex-wife of Nicholas Petro, who was also arrested on Saturday after she claimed earlier this year to have witnessed her former husband accept and retained a sizeable donation from a disgraced former politician convicted of drug trafficking that was ostensibly intended for the president's campaign in exchange for political support.

President vows to not interfere in prosecution of son

The leftist Colombian President Petro, a former guerilla fighter with ties to the Colombian Communist Party who now champions anti-corruption efforts in the country, seemingly acknowledged his son's criminal wrongdoing in a statement he issued on social media in response to the arrest.

In a post translated from Spanish, the president said, "As an individual and father, it pains me to see so much self-destruction and one of my sons going to jail; As president of the republic, I’ve assured the chief prosecutor’s office that it will have all of the guarantees so it can proceed according to the law."

"To my son, I wish him luck and strength. May these events forge his character and I hope he can reflect about his own mistakes," he added. "As I stated before the attorney general, I will not intervene or pressure his decisions; let the law freely guide the process."

Allegations of political corruption and money laundering

The Associated Press reported that both Nicholas Petro and his ex-wife, Daysuris del Carmen Vasquez, were arrested and taken into custody by police Saturday evening on an order issued by a Bogota court in relation to allegations earlier this year from Vasquez herself about a dubious donation received by Petro from a former politician convicted of drug trafficking who sought the president's support in relaunching his political career.

Vasquez stressed that President Petro was unaware of what occurred and that his campaign never received the money because the younger Petro kept it in a safe at their formerly shared home in Barranquilla. The younger Petro has staunchly denied the allegations from his ex-wife.

The AP noted that prosecutors asked that both Petro and Vasquez be held in custody while an investigation continues.

Latest scandal for embattled leftist president

According to The Washington Post, the allegations from Vasquez emerged in an interview with a Colombian media outlet in March after she allegedly caught her ex-husband in an affair with one of her friends, and she further accused him of using the money ostensibly donated to his father's campaign to instead help support his own luxurious lifestyle.

The outlet noted that this new scandal for President Petro followed close on the heels of leaked audio implicating his now-former chief of staff and ambassador to Venezuela in campaign finance violations and comes amid declining approval ratings and credibility concerns about himself and his attorney general and their efforts to combat corruption in the South American nation.

"This is the tip of a very big iceberg that will become a very long investigation in this presidency," Sergio Guzman, head of the Colombia Risk Analysis consulting group, explained to The Post.

"We still have no evidence of Petro’s direct involvement. Right now, Petro is in damage control mode trying to isolate the issue around his son. It’s very much a president that doesn’t want this scandal to involve him," he added with respect to the latest allegations. "A lot of people are saying ‘It’s impossible that Gustavo Petro didn’t know what his son was up to.’ Those are the kinds of things that will take time to be resolved."

Though neither The Post nor the AP made any mention of it, the parallels between this issue with the Colombian president and his allegedly corrupt son and the allegations of corruption against U.S. President Joe Biden and his son Hunter are simply stunning, and one can only hope that if sufficient evidence emerged to support the arrest and prosecution of Hunter while Joe was still president, he would issue a similar statement -- and actually mean it -- about not interfering with the prosecution and allowing the chips to fall where they may.

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