Nicolás Petro in Legal Trouble: Do the Daughters and Sons of Latino Leaders Enjoy Impunity?

The children of presidents and former heads of state are not spared from investigations, both for false accusations and for illegal acts. Today the president who has to bear a scandal that involves his family is Gustavo Petro, because of his son Nicolás Petro, who is accused of receiving money in exchange for influence

Nicholas and Gustavo Petro

Photo: TW-nicolaspetroB

LatinAmerican Post | David García Pedraza

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Leer en español: Hijo de Gustavo Petro en líos legales: ¿Los hijos de los mandatarios latinos gozan de impunidad?

The family photo is a hallmark of the new guest who arrives for four, five or six years to the presidency of a nation, with the function of framing the honor of his or her last name and image in the leadership of a nation. However, there have been cases where one or another member of that family nucleus is in trouble due to scandals of a personal, social, political or financial nature, which affects the image of their parent, who is in the most important position from the country.

Public opinion does not forgive these slip-ups on the part of the presidential family. Although in the collective imagination it is understood that politics is one of the places where 'good manners' and 'good example' should prevail, reality is very away from this idea.

When the Familiar Image Begins to Tarnish

Parents are in the care of their children from infancy and the general rule indicates that they must meet their needs until they reach the age of majority, even legally this is contemplated in several nations. The children of presidents or heads of state are no exception. However, many times they are the ones who get their parents into trouble, and many times the same parents get their children into trouble.

It may interest you: What Is the Role of the First Ladies in Latin America?

One of the most notorious cases in Latin America is the one related to the ex-president of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli and his sons, Luis Enrique and Ricardo. Martinelli, investigated for various cases of corruption and money laundering, including Odebrecht, Blue Apple, New Business, among others. His two sons pleaded guilty to money laundering, whose sentence was served in the United States in 2022 and are currently in Panamanian territory awaiting trial in this territory.

Despite the fact that the brothers agreed to blame their father for having induced them to commit the crimes, Martinelli remains firm in his aspiration for the presidency of Panama in 2024.

Tomás and Jerónimo Uribe, sons of former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe, also have their problem in the courts. In this case, the acquisition of land was the trigger that exposed an unethical maneuver in public opinion. According to an investigation carried out by the journalist Daniel Coronell, the Uribe children received favors from a mayor of a municipality near Bogotá, where he granted them agricultural land that became industrial, for which its value increased in two years. In addition, according to a resolution of the DIAN (Colombia's Customs Department) it declared these lands a 'permanent free zone', which skyrocketed the price of those lands and thus sealed their fortunes for Uribe's children. In 2021, the State Council announced that it found no evidence that there was a violation of morality in this business.

Jerónimo and Tomás adjudicate their fortune to the craft companies and recycling businesses that they have run together. However, despite the constant accusations, the Uribe children hide behind the fact that the people who question them are violating their right to their honor and good image.

Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori and an active politician of the Inca nation, has not been saved from the negative image of her father and not from her own actions, constantly being accused of corruption within her presidential campaign in 2021. Even so, the Peruvian prosecutor's office closed the case due to lack of evidence.

Despite this resolution, the anti-corruption prosecutor's office continues to investigate possible irregular financing of Keiko's presidential campaigns in 2011 and 2016, which includes a million dollars received by the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht. Despite the fact that the events occurred long after his father was in power, the Fujimori are one of the most influential political families in Peru.

For his part, in the giant Brazil, two of the sons of the current Brazilian president Lula da Silva, Fabio and Claudio, were investigated for obtaining irregular money and for a very rapid growth of their assets, even Lula had to attend as a witness in one of the trials. Finally, there were no convictions for the crimes of which they were accused, and various media outlets attribute this victory in the stands to the alliances that Lula himself had in congress in 2015.

Currently, also in Colombia, the case of Nicolás Petro, the son of the president in command, Gustavo Petro, has come to light. According to the accusations of Nicolás's ex-partner, both the president's son and Juan Fernando Petro (Gustavo's brother) received money from powerful prisoners promising a possible negotiation that would end up pardoning several criminals. The president recently asked the Attorney General's Office to investigate both his son and his brother, and that justice be the one to determine if they acted illegally.

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