5 Latin American politicians denounced for sexual harassment

In Latin American politics, leaders have been imprisoned for different kinds of crimes, except for crimes of a sexual nature. Here are 5 cases of sexual harassment in the region.

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Sex crimes are no strangers to Latin American politics. Here we recall some cases. Photo: Pixabay

LatinAmerican Post | Julián Gómez

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Leer en español: 5 políticos latinoamericanos denunciados por delitos sexuales

Just last week, New York Republican Representative Tom Reed had to resign his re-election after a sexual harassment indictment against him was made public. In this same state, at the beginning of March, Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, offered an apology at a press conference to the women who reported him for sexual crimes. So far 8 women have reported him. However, the Democratic governor continues to hold on to his post and has declared that he does not intend to resign.

 Latin American politicians are not exempt from committing sexual harrasment. Here we recall some cases.

Óscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica

Although he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 and was president of Costa Rica for two terms (1986-1990 and 2006-2010), Óscar Arias was criminally denounced for sexual abuse and rape. One of the complainants was Alexandra Arce, an activist against the use of nuclear weapons. As it became known, in 2014, the ex-president sexually abused her at home.

The other complaint was made by Yazmín Morales, Miss Costa Rica in 1994, who denounced him for having kissed and touched her.

More women dared to denounce Óscar Arias in testimonies offered to media such as The New York Times , The Washington Post or La Nación de Costa Rica. At least three journalists, an editor, a sociologist, and a political scientist also denounced having been victims of the former Costa Rican president.

José Alperovich, Senator of Argentina

He served three times as governor of the province of Tucumán and while in the Senate of Argentina, José Alperovich was denounced by his niece for sexual abuse.

In December 2017, the abuses of the 30-year-old girl, who worked in the staff of the Ministry of Government, Justice and Security of Tucumán, began. The complaint was made public by means of a letter and criminally filed before the Special Prosecutor's Office for Crimes Against Sexual Integrity.

“I didn't want him to kiss me. He did it. I didn't want him to grope me. He did it. I didn't want him to penetrate me. He did it… He oscillated freely and comfortably in the three scenarios he shared with me: family, work and the horror of intimacy that he forced me to live in",said the victim in the letter. 

More than a year after the complaint was filed, the case has not advanced and the victim described the Argentine judicial system as "perverse and contradictory."

Félix Salgado, candidate for Governor of Guerrero, Mexico

The candidate for the Morena party for Governor of Guerrero in Mexico, has a complaint of rape of a minor in 1998, one of sexual abuse of a La Jornada employee in 2016 and two more complaints that are still being researched. Recently, the Inspection Commission of the National Electoral Institute (INE) approved the removal of Salgado from the electoral register because, apparently, the MORENA party failed to deliver the pre-campaign spending reports. The elections are on June 6, but the complaints against him remain in limbo.

Arturo Aguirre, Mayor of Cerrillos, Santiago de Chile

He was a councilor for Cerrillos, a commune of Santiago de Chile, and now he became mayor of that same commune. At the beginning of March, it became known, thanks to a publication by Ciper, that five women denounced Arturo Aguirre for sexual harassment and abuse.

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Forced kisses, caresses, and groping are some details of the stories that are investigated by the Investigative Police in Chile (PDI). Some of the women who denounced him were former employees subordinated to him.

“He asked me if I was dating, I told him that I did have a partner, then he told me that he liked me a lot, with one hand he took my arm and with the other hand he took my face and brought it closer to him and gave me a kiss forcibly. I immediately pushed him and told him it was disgusting,one of the complainants told Ciper.

Because the scandal is still new, the case is still under investigation by the PDI.

Hollman Morris, former mayoral candidate for Bogotá, Colombia

In 2019 Hollman Morris ran for Mayor of Bogotá, but his campaign collapsed due to a complaint from his ex-partner for gender violence, and then came a complaint of sexual harassment by journalist María Antonia de la Torre.

"If she interpreted that I harassed her, I have no problem apologizing," Hollman Morris said at the time in an interview with W Radio.

For his part, the victim published a column in the newspaper El Tiempo, recounting under what circumstances she was sexually harassed by Hollman Morris.

Currently, there are no known advances in the investigation against the former candidate for Mayor of Bogotá.