The Democratic Pole senator Ivan Cepeda denounced that the government of President Ivan Duque, the ruling Democratic Center party, and the Colombian intelligence agencies are implementing smear campaigns against the “Historical Pact”, which is an electoral coalition made up of leftist parties and social movements.
To manipulate public opinion, the Colombian far-right is broadcasting messages to encourage favorable sentiments towards former President Alvaro Uribe, whom judicial investigations have linked to paramilitary organizations and drug traffickers. To achieve this aim, the ruling party would have coordinated actions among social media management companies, influencers, bloggers, journalists, and mainstream media.
As part of the dirty campaign, which seeks to reduce citizen support for the left in the next presidential elections, the intelligence agencies are conducting all kinds of inquiries to find “facts” capable of damaging the progressive politicians’ ethical image.
“The strategy is simple: they look for weak points to present politicians as corrupt, criminals, bad people, abusers, scammers, thieves, alcohol users or drug addicts. It seeks to put them on the defensive in the middle of the electoral contest,” Cepeda explained, adding that the Duque administration’s fake news is disseminated through social networks and mainstream media.
Some bloggers or influencers with little reputation are the strategy’s last link. Its role is to spread fake news to Uribe followers so that they spread the message through their social accounts and personal contacts.
At the time of making his complaint, Senator Cepeda pointed out that a citizen, who preferred anonymity for fear of reprisals, provided him with reliable information about what the extreme right is doing.
Among its actions would be a meeting in Medellin city held in March in which the promoters of the smear campaign coordinated the dissemination of information through the mainstream media. To illustrate this procedure, Cepeda recalled that Semana magazine has made publications against leftist leaders that are based on intelligence reports from the Ministry of Defense.
Since its launch in February 2021, the Historical Pact has been the target of all kinds of attacks and threats from far-right organizations and paramilitaries. This electoral alliance includes historical leaders such as Gustavo Petro, Alexander Lopez, Ivan Cepeda, Maria Jose Pizarro, Roy Barreras, Clara Lopez, Aida Avella, Armando Benedetti, and Martha Peralta.