The Associated Press is reporting that Colombian President Gustavo Petro (above) has secretly asked the attorney general of Colombia to suspend arrest orders against eight members of the dangerous Clan del Golfo (Gulf Clan) mafia. Included in the list or mafiosos receiving Petro’s supposed protection is “Bad Boy” Jobanis Villadiego, indicted in New York City for drug trafficking.
The Associated Press says it saw the letter, shared by confidential sources.
Colombia’s attorney general’s office issued a written and public rebuttal, saying that there would be no legal justification for suspension of the arrest warrants. Colombia’s peace process has provisions for reconciliation and possible amnesty for members of armed political groups such as the FARC or ELN, but the Clan del Golfo is a criminal organization, not a political insurgency, according to the attorney general.
The current attorney general, Francisco Barbosa, was appointed by former President Ivan Duque, and does not share Gustavo Petro’s leftist ideology. Barbosa’s term runs until 2024. His political patron, Ivan Duque, opposed the peace process negotiated in 2016 by then President and Nobel Peace-Prize winner Juan Manuel Santos, and ran his presidential campaign based on opposition to the deal.
The leaders of the Clan del Golfo did largely come from the right-wing paramilitary groups such as the AGC that were supposed to have disbanded in a demobilization negotiated by then President Alvaro Uribe in the early 2000s.
Petro believes that with his “Total Peace” plan, he can negotiate with Colombia’s many criminal gangs, inducing them to abandon their lives of crime if they are shielded from extradition and prosecution.