Colombia’s president trades barbs with his Salvadoran counterpart


Colombia’s president became embroiled in a quarrel with his El Salvadoran counterpart Thursday in a series of exchanges on social media.


Gustavo Petro posted a report from CNN on Twitter saying that prosecutors in New York allege that top officials under Nayib Bukele made a pact with gangs to reduce the murder rate in the Central American nation.


Petro commented on the report, saying “better than making government pacts under the table would be for justice to make them over the table without deceit and in pursuit of peace.”


Bukele immediately reminded Petro that his son is immersed in a corruption scandal that will soon prompt him to testify before Colombian authorities.


“I don’t understand your obsession with El Salvador. Isn’t your son the one who makes pacts under the table and also for money? Everything all right at home?” he said.


Bukele was referring to Nicolás Petro, who allegedly received illegal money for his father’s campaign.


Petro responded, saying: “Here there is a presumption of innocence, a universal principle. Here the president does not dismiss judges or magistrates; he fights for a more autonomous and stronger justice system.”


“Here in Colombia, we deepen democracy (and) we do not destroy it,” he added.


The Central American leader shot back.


“Presumption of innocence? I imagine that he has never accused any of his opponents. Colombians will know if that is true or another lie.


“Besides, it was you who attacked me (again) and our internal affairs.”


In mid-February, Petro and Bukele had a strong exchange of words on Twitter when the Colombian leader lashed out at Bukele for having built a high security prison in Tecoluca that had received 2,000 suspected gang members. Petro compared the prison to a “concentration camp.”


According to polls, 95% of El Salvador’s population supports Bukele’s security strategy which has reduced the homicide rate in the country but has been harshly questioned by human rights organizations.


Source: Anadolu Agency