When Colombian Senator Claudia López strongly criticized Luis Felipe Henao, Ex-Ministry of Housing, this past March 14 in a debate on W Radio, Henao presented a case to the Supreme Court of Bogotá, alleging unfounded corruption accusations. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Henao yesterday, and against the accusations presented by Claudia López.
As a result, the Supreme Court ordered Senator Lopez, within 48 hours to act upon receipt of the legal notice, to retract from any futher accusations against Luis Felipe Henao. The decision has created an unexpected precedent, as there’s no history of a court stifiling the free speech of a presidential candidate, in the middle of his or her political campaign, and forcing them to rectify his or her accusations.
Henao claimed that Lopez make multiple false accusations against him and his character.
“I am outraged by corruption, not like you, who likes it, works with it, and lives from within it”, Lopez said in one accusation. “The one who worked with Santos was you, brother. You were his minister. Now the tables are turned, the Ministry of corruption is defending the President of corruption”, she said in another heated exchange.
“Apart from thieves, you’re also buffoons”, Lopez continued in her diatribe against Henao, following that with, “now this is where you’re going to wash his hands, as everyone, and he will say that we are all thugs like you. No, we are not like you, we’re not like your kind, from the same elite, we’re not that junk.”
Though the exchange was heated and the attacks were personal, this is the first time in the history of the republic that a court has silenced a presidential candidate. Critics say that it sets a very dangerous president against free speech in the country.