Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

A Setback in Colombia’s Rapprochement with Venezuela

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on May 23, 2011

by Andres Mejia Vergnaud for Americas Quarterly, May 19th, 2011.

President Santos’ policy of rapprochement with Venezuela has suffered a significant and unexpected setback: the resignation of José Fernando Bautista, Colombia’s ambassador to the Bolivarian Republic.

Bautista submitted his farewell letter anticipating revelations of deals with the infamous Nule Group, whose owners, two brothers and their cousin, remain in prison while they face trial for what will perhaps be the greatest corruption scandal in Colombia’s history.  The case involves multi-million bribes and illegal commissions in public contracting.  The Nule scandal has also resulted in the suspension of Bogotá Mayor Samuel Moreno, the arrest of his brother Iván —a senator— and the imprisonment of a number of second-rank officials.

At this point, it’s still not clear what kind of job Mr. Bautista did for the Nules. A long-time successful lobbyist, he might have sold his ability to be influential in the highest circles of fovernment. But concerns have arisen that he might have gone beyond this, and that he could have been involved in an alleged plot to discredit Sandra Morelli, the Colombia’s comptroller general. Mr. Bautista claims in his letter that he did nothing but advising what at the time was a successful and respected corporate group. This defense leaves a question open: if this was the case, why did he feel compelled to resign? It’s hard not to suspect there’s something more. (continue reading… )

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: