The ‘private agenda’ of the controversial lawyer Julián Bedoya with President Gustavo Petro in the Casa de Nariño

The ‘private agenda’ of the controversial lawyer Julián Bedoya with President Gustavo Petro in the Casa de Nariño
The ‘private agenda’ of the controversial lawyer Julián Bedoya with President Gustavo Petro in the Casa de Nariño

The last visit to date of the questioned lawyer and former congressman Julián Bedoya to the Casa de Nariño occurred on July 18, 2023, two days before a difficult legislature began in the Congress of the Republic. with reforms such as Health reforms stalled and unlikely to advance.

Two months earlier, the name of Bedoya, considered a ‘liberal electoral boss’ from Antioquia but opposed to the leadership of César Gaviria, had been loudly heard in the halls of Congress – in which he was until 2022 -, as one of those responsible for the fact that the most important reform of the current government was saved at the ‘last minute’ in the Seventh Chamber commission.

The reason? It would have been he who managed to convince the liberal Maria Eugenia Lopera, one of his closest people and ‘political sponsor’, to vote in favor of the initiative despite warnings from former President Gaviria that whoever did so would receive a sanction.

That vote meant breaking the tie that prevailed in that commission and allowing the project to move forward, which earned her the recognition of President Petro himself, who acknowledged that thanks to her the initiative was provisionally saved. Today, Lopera is president of the Seventh Commission.

That is why it is striking that just a few days before the final sessions of 2023 begin in Congress, Bedoya returned to the Palace even though he had not done so, at least according to official reports, since October 24, 2022.

And this meeting, unlike the previous ones, does not appear with details of who or what department it was addressed to except for a brief text of ‘office meeting’, at 12:39 in the afternoon of that Tuesday, July 18.

It is striking that just a few days before the final sessions of 2023 in Congress began, Bedoya returned to the Palace even though he had not done so since October 24, 2022.

And although the reform would finally fail, for the second half of that year the Plenary of the House of Representatives managed to give it a good process in part thanks to what Gaviria called the “hostile takeover of the Liberal Party”, consolidated after the arrival of Luis Fernando Velasco to the Ministry of the Interior and Andrés Calle, also a liberal, who at that time was president of the House of Representatives and who between January 1 and August 30, 2023 visited the Casa de Nariño on 15 different occasions.

But regardless of whether or not those meetings in the Palace influenced the processing of the law, it has been established that Bedoya was not unknown among the upper echelons of the Palace, especially in the first days of Gustavo Petro’s mandate.

The EL TIEMPO Data Unit was able to establish, after reviewing the more than 57 thousand official records of entry and exit of people from the Casa de Nariño, that since August 7, and in just two months, Bedoya He directly visited the President and the then director of Dapre, Mauricio Lizcano, on three different occasions.

A controversial electoral baron in the Palace

Julián Bedoya on the day of his accession to the then candidate for the Governor of Antioquia, Luis Pérez.

Photo:TIME

The first indication of Bedoya’s closeness to the President occurred on the day of President Gustavo Petro’s inauguration, August 7, 2022. According to the records of the Casa de Nariño, The Antioquian politician was part of the 107 guests at the cocktail reception given to the new Head of State.

Bedoya, who entered the Palace at 5:46 in the afternoon, was part of the select group of the celebration that included the newly inaugurated ministers, family members, and political leaders. and businessmen like Euclides Torres, who, as revealed by this media, was present on that occasion.

From there and in a month, There were two more meetings between President Petro and this 43-year-old lawyer born in Medellín, who managed to consolidate himself as one of the strongest voters in the south of the Aburrá Valley. Bedoya arrived at the Medellín Council in 2011 with 25 thousand votes. Then he made the jump to the House in 2014 and in 2018 he won a seat in the Senate with more than 75 thousand votes.

But Bedoya’s career has also felt the noise of controversies. The The first was his expulsion from the Police for supposedly ‘losing’ his service pistol, a weapon that was later found in a bathroom cistern. And the most recent has to do with alleged irregularities in obtaining his law degree from the University of Medellín.

According to the investigation, in 2020 Bedoya would have used his influence to process his diploma more quickly, and irregularly. The fact, when it became public, cost the then rector of the University of Medellín, Néstor Hincapié Vargas, his position.

And although the Prosecutor’s Office had requested that the process be archived, the 27th Criminal Court of the Medellín Circuit denied this possibility, so the process continues. In fact, on January 16, the Attorney General’s Office sanctioned the former congressman with 10 months of suspension and disqualification. And in criminal matters, the crimes that are investigated are ideological falsehood in a public document, falsehood in a private document and procedural fraud.

‘Private agenda’ events with Bedoya

Despite these controversies, the closeness in public that President Gustavo Petro and Julián Bedoya have shown is practically non-existent. (no photos of the two together have been released to date), the data delivered to this medium by the Dapre Information Technologies and Systems Office They realize that at least at the beginning of the new government there was direct communication between both.

The House of Nariño has documented three more entries by Bedoya, in addition to the one during the celebration of the possession, to the Palace. Two of them directly with the President of the Republic and one more with the then director of Dapre, Mauricio Lizcano.

The first meeting between the two occurred on August 16 at 10 in the morning. The income report details that Bedoya “Enter Casa de Nariño meeting, Mr. President, office via agenda (sic).”

The official who authorized the entry of the former congressman and former candidate for the Governor of Antioquia was Laura Sarabia, who at that time was the chief of staff and right hand of the President.

It is striking that that same August 16, President Petro canceled the troop recognition that the new President must do by tradition.

The second meeting had practically the same characteristics as the first, but it happened a little more than two months later. According to the Presidency’s security records, Bedoya entered through the visitors’ door of the Palace at 10:16 on October 4, 2022.

The objective of that meeting was stated with the same subject as the previous occasion: “Enter Casa de Nariño meeting, Mr. President, office via agenda (sic).” Authorization for entry was also given by Laura Sarabia. Bedoya was in the office of the Head of State until 11:15 in the morning, when he left the headquarters of the Executive branch.

The third and last meeting, at least official, of Bedoya in the Presidency had a different protagonist. It happened on October 24 at 2:08 p.m., but this time the log indicates that the meeting was “with Dr. Mauricio Lizcano”, current Minister of ICT, but who at that time was the administrative head of the Presidency and responsible for contractual and personnel management of the Executive headquarters.
​​See in this interactive tool the details of each meeting as they appear in the official documents delivered to EL TIEMPO.

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