The facts are undeniable: former senator Otto Bula, prime mover of Oderbrecht’s operation of corruption has given testimony and delivered the evidence of the monetization of a million dollars that ended up in the hands of a straw man, Roberto Prieto, best friend and manager of Juan Manuel Santos’ campaign in 2014.

Bula, as was disclosed by reporter Vicky Davila, explained in full detail how the money was delivered to Andres Giraldo Rivera, an ominous business wheeler-dealer and broker, with whom Roberto Prieto has a close and old business and social relationship.

There is no doubt that Prieto, through Giraldo Rivera, received a million dollars which was paid by Odebrecht. . The locations where the payments were made have now been disclosed. . It will be very easy to check, reviewing the videos of the hotel security cameras referenced by Bula and airline records, because the money was delivered in Bogotá and straw-man Giraldo Rivera lives in Medellin.

As far as Andrés Giraldo, it is known that he is very close to the coffee growers association and that he was one of the active promoters of Gabriel Silva Lujan when the latter sought to become the Manager of the Colombian National Coffee Growers Federation.

Roberto Prieto, who is also very close to Gabriel Silva, has preferred to slip away and not show his face in Colombia, by making up security concerns that exist only in his imagination. He did nothing besides issuing a press release that does not resolve the countless questions that weigh on him.

Prieto wrote that “I express my most energetic rejection of the unfounded, biased and slanderous statements made against me by Mr. Otto Bula to the General Prosecutor’s Office. He is someone I barely know, with whom I have never, ever, even had a cup of coffee”.

Juan Manuel Santos former campaign manager does not categorically deny that he knows Bula. He says that he “barely knows who he is”. This means that he has spoken or met with him. Both Prieto and Giraldo have a lot of explaining to do about the final destination of one million dollars that were given to them by Otto Bula. And there are only three possible alternatives: that they injected the money into the Santos reelection campaign coffers, just as Odebrecht executives expected. The other possibility is that Prieto and Giraldo kept the money. Finally, it is possible that they stole a part of the money and the rest was used to pay for the reelection campaign expenses.

Now then, did Oderbrecht deliver one million dollars only? People, who are familiar with the investigation, do not rule out that more money is involved. There are some versions that indicate that give Odebrecht paid through other channels, about 3 million dollars, but none of these versions have been confirmed.

The scandal is enormous, although the bulk of Colombia’s media intend to minimize its significance. This is a president who, in addition, was awarded the Nobel Peace Price and who is linked to the most shameless corruption network that has occurred throughout Colombian history.

Parallel to the criminal investigation being conducted by the Prosecutor’s Office, an administrative process is about to start in the National Electoral Council. The latter will examine all the accounting matters related to the Santos campaign.

It is no secret that the CNE is a mock court that arouses suspicion and generates mistrust. The level of their inefficiency may surpass the disputed Allegations Commission of the House of Representatives.

With a majority of magistrates who are easily bribed due to their allegiance to the parties of the so-called national unity, the President of the Republic, right from the beginning, has won the case. It will take the indicting counsel to longer to draft a sentence than it will take a majority to file an investigation against the President. In view of this scenario, it would be better that no one were so naive as to think that there will be a serious, rigorous, thorough and impartial investigation of the Santos campaign accounts.

What has just been said does not mean that the citizenry should fold its arms and become a silent witness of the cover-up that is being concocted by the government and its Congressional allies.

In the same way, an audit is necessary for the moneys that have deposited and withdrawn from the accounts of the Buen Gobierno Foundation, currently presided by Martin Santos, the president’s very own son.

It is essential to know the origin of the funds used by that Foundation to pay for those “academic” activities that were carried out by the Foundation during the 2014 pre-election phase. It is also essential that the head of Buen Gobierno answer some very simple questions, such as, how many times he met with Eleuberto Martorelli, Oderbrecht President in Colombia.

The timing

The media scandal has happened at an unusual speed, but that does not mean, in the least, that the answers will be known in a short time.

The National Electoral Council will take its time before disclosing its already predictable decision. The Prosecutor’s Office, on its part, will take a long time.

The prosecution, meanwhile, will take time to make decisions and pursue the charges that may apply. It depends largely on the information provided by the judicial authorities of Brazil and the United States and that makes the investigation costly.

While the criminal justice system acts and the electoral authority conduct this farce, the citizenship must mobilize against an unpopular and illegitimate government.

They brought an elephant into Ernesto Samper’s living room and in Juan Manuel Santos’ case a bulldozer was parked in his campaign, and was done with the help of his best friend and confidant, Roberto Prieto. That bulldozer is as large as one of those bulldozers currently used by Odebrecht for the construction of the road connecting Ocalia and the Parody family port in Gamarra.


Published: February 16th 2017