Gustavo Petro, who became the official candidate of the left for the presidential elections in Colombia, has a series of advisors working behind him who have been accused of corruption in the international arena. Such is the case of Vinicio Alvarado and Amauri Chamorro, his political marketing architects.
Both Alvarado and Chamorro are behind the communication strategies of the left in Colombia despite being involved in cases of corruption and management of cyber-armies. Both of them are doing everything they can to make Petro reach the presidency.
Alvarado is a fugitive from justice in Ecuador, where he was convicted for bribes between 2012 and 2017. Like him, his brother Fernando Alvarado, and other officials are in other countries fleeing justice.
Who is Vinicio Alvarado and why is his closeness to Petro a concern?
Petro, candidate of Colombia Humana, is advised by the Ecuadorian Vinicio Alvarado, close friend of the fugitive former president Rafael Correa; he is a man who has also worked with other leftists figures in the region such as Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who has been harshly questioned.
Alvarado is former Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade and former Secretary General of the Administration of the Government of Rafael Correa; and in 2019 the Ecuadorian justice ordered his capture and sentenced him to 8 years in prison for the alleged crime of embezzlement within the Bribery Case 2012-2016 (also known as Green Rice) that involved the government of Correa.
However, according to Petro’s campaign sources, Alvarado is the one who is leading the consultancy in propaganda strategies and has promoted the leftist candidate in these presidential elections.
According to the Ecuadorian portal 4pelagatos, Vinicio Alvarado is not only the mastermind behind Correa’s propaganda; he is also a businessman who did not miss an opportunity to benefit economically.
The Green Rice case, made public by journalists Fernando Villavicencio and Christian Zurita, reveals that four companies, directly or indirectly related to Alvarado, received money from illegal campaign contributions. These companies are: Creacional, Vértigo Films, Kronopio and Publiélite.
Recently, due to the case, the Property Registry of Guayaquil registered, in favor of the Ecuadorian State, the confiscation of the assets of former president Rafael Correa and seven more convicted for the crime of bribery; among them was a plot of land located in the luxurious urbanization Puerto Azul.
In addition, Vinicio is the brother of Fernando Alvarado, Correa’s former communication secretary, who was involved in the MCSquared case, a public relations firm based in Brooklyn, New York, in charge of creating a campaign against Chevron oil company in Ecuador, known as “Mano Sucia” (Dirty Hand).
The Correa government gave 6.4 million dollars to MCSquared to invest in this campaign, hiring several leftist artists such as Dany Glover, Mia Farrow and the well-known rapper René Pérez (Calle 13) to travel to Ecuador to participate in a media smear show against the oil company.
Amauri Chamorro, a troll specialist
Carlos Amauri Venegas Chamorro, political communications guru and better known as Amauri Chamorro, is a political and communications strategist who moves in various left-wing circles in Latin America and Spain; in fact, he has signed at least three contracts totaling $300 million to advise the Medellín mayor’s office, according to the Colombian portal El Armadillo.
In Colombia’s 2018 presidential elections, he did not hide his support for Gustavo Petro. And, in Venezuela, he has been clearly aligned with the Bolivarian movement promoted by Hugo Chávez and continued by Nicolás Maduro.
“Before being a professional, I am a left-wing militant, an internationalist. The left usually loses in the media scenario because they are right-wing, so I bring my knowledge to fight with the left in those battles,” said Chamorro to the Chilean media T13.
A few years ago, the Ecuadorian newspaper El Comercio reported the alleged participation of a consulting firm related to Chamorro in a “troll center.” That is to say, in an office from which mass messages were sent against the opposition through social networks, in the campaign for the presidential elections in Ecuador. Chamorro denied his participation and assured that all this was part of a campaign orchestrated by the oil company Chevron against Correa’s government.
The case of the Ecuadorian “troll centers” was documented along with those of 27 other countries in the study Troops, Trolls and Troublemakers: A Global Inventory of Organized Social Media Manipulation, published in 2017 by the University of Oxford.
It remains to be seen whether Petro will achieve his goal of becoming president of Colombia and what will be gained by these two strategists who, despite being accused of corruption cases, are now behind the campaigns of the left in the South American country.