HomeNewsBriefColombia President's Strategist Resigns Amid Drug Money Allegations
BRIEF

Colombia President's Strategist Resigns Amid Drug Money Allegations

COLOMBIA / 6 MAY 2014 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

Weeks before Colombia's presidential elections, the current president's political strategist has resigned on accusations he received $12 million from the country's top drug lords to negotiate a plan for their demobilization, in a case indicating how criminal ties continue to reach the top of the administration.

According to Semana, captured former Rastrojos leaders Javier Antonio Calle Serna, alias "Comba," and Diego Perez Henao, alias "Diego Rastrojo," along with late ERPAC leader "Cuchillo" and captured trafficker Daniel "El Loco" Barrera, allegedly signed the proposal. They then had presidential adviser J.J. Rendon deliver it to President Juan Manuel Santos, who rejected the plan.

In December 2013, Calle Serna testified that Venezuelan national Rendon met with the drug traffickers' lawyers on three occasions during 2010 and 2011. Though Rendon denies receiving any money from the criminal bosses, Semana reported that in June 2011 the political adviser set up a company named Tulum Investments in the US state of Delaware, through which he bought a $4 million penthouse the following month.

Rendon resigned on May 5 to avoid "damaging the [2014 presidential] campaign of Dr. Juan Manuel Santos," reported El Tiempo. Colombia's presidential elections, in which Santos is running for a second term in office, are due to take place on May 25.

InSight Crime Analysis

The controversy surrounding Rendon serves as a reminder of how criminal infiltration of Colombian politics goes to the highest levels. Throughout the current administration, revelations have continued to emerge of links between paramilitary groups -- from which many of the country's current criminal organizations emerged -- and politicians and security officials active during the previous administration of Alvaro Uribe. The former president has himself been accused of such ties on various occasions.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Elites and Organized Crime

Rendon's last-ditch attempt to distance himself from Santos' presidential campaign will unlikely save the head of state from yet another electoral scandal, after Colombia's March congressional elections were marred by allegations of criminal ties among victorious candidates, including some from Santos' own party, and Santos was accused of vote buying.

Though Santos has backed the claims of innocence made by Rendon -- who also served as his campaign strategist for the 2010 presidential elections -- the details revealed by Colombian media could be extremely damaging.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 5 DEC 2017

Honduras has returned to the brink of chaos a week after a disputed presidential election in which a winner…

COLOMBIA / 5 DEC 2014

In the book "Pablo Escobar My Father," the notorious drug lord's only son, Juan Pablo Escobar, recounts his memories of…

COMBA / 19 MAR 2012

Ecuador has arrested, and swiftly deported, one of the brothers that head Colombia's powerful Rastrojos gang, again showing how many…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…

THE ORGANIZATION

Coverage of Fallen Paraguay Prosecutor Makes Headlines

20 MAY 2022

The murder of leading anti-crime prosecutor, Marcelo Pecci, while on honeymoon in Colombia, has drawn attention to the evolution of organized crime in Paraguay. While 17 people have been arrested…