Sins of the Son
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The son of embattled Colombian President Gustavo Petro was arrested for money laundering and illicit enrichment this week, for allegedly taking funds from drug traffickers in exchange for including them in his father’s peace efforts to end a decades-old guerilla war, Reuters reported.
Nicolas Petro, a politician in Atlantico province, along with his ex-wife, Daysuris del Carmen Vasquez, were arrested Saturday. Vasquez had previously told local media that two people allegedly involved in drug trafficking had given Petro money for his father’s electoral campaign.
The younger Petro, who has been a target of investigation since the spring, has denied the charges.
The president said on Twitter (now X) that it was painful to see one of his children jailed – but that he would not intervene.
Petro took office on a pledge to bring peace to the country by ending Colombia’s 60-year civil conflict, which has killed 450,000 people.
In his first year in office, he has revived negotiations with the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group, which have led to a ceasefire to begin this month. Efforts to hold talks with the major criminal gang, Clan del Golfo, however, have faltered due to continued violence.
A proposed law to regulate criminal network surrenders, giving participants lower sentences in exchange for information and restorative work, has provoked outrage from victims and widespread criticism – including from the attorney general.
Meanwhile, the arrest of his son is the latest scandal to hit the leftist president, threatening to derail his agenda.
Earlier this year, for example, Petro’s chief of staff and the Colombian ambassador to Venezuela, allegedly falsified documents, and threatened and illegally interrogated a nanny they both employed at different times, explained Agence France-Presse.