A Family Corruption Scandal Could Be Costly for Colombia’s Petro

A Family Corruption Scandal Could Be Costly for Colombia’s Petro
Then-presidential candidate Gustavo Petro waves to supporters alongside his son, Nicolas, and family on election night in Bogota, Colombia, May 29, 2022 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

Among a number of other recent reverses, Colombian President Gustavo Petro is suddenly facing two scandals triggered by the alleged misdeeds of his son and brother. He is hardly the first leader to endure political headwinds due to the actions of relatives who may have sought to enrich themselves from their proximity to power. But in Petro’s case, the accusations have the potential to inflict lasting damage.

The question in Colombia now is whether Petro’s family matters will turn out to be much ado about not very much, or the kind of controversy that cripples his presidency, which is still only in its first year.

The scandal first erupted when Daysuris Vasquez, the ex-wife of Petro’s son Nicolas, delivered a bombshell story to the Colombian magazine Semana. According to Vasquez, in the runup to Colombia’s presidential election last year, Nicolas had accepted substantial donations from prominent drug-trafficking figures, with the understanding he would use the money to help fund his father’s presidential campaign. Instead, she said, Nicolas kept the money for himself.

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