Editor’s note: Rodolfo Hernández, lauded in US mainstream media as an “anti-corruption” crusader, was defeated by left-wing politician Gustavo Petro in his bid for the presidency on June 19, 2022. Under the presidency of Ivan Duque, Colombia overpaid by as much as $375 million for Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine. According to secret contracts with Pfizer that were later leaked, Colombia was compelled by Pfizer to forfeit “immunity against precautionary seizure of any of [their state] assets.” A peer-reviewed May 2022 study by Jama Network Open found that “immunity against the omicron coronavirus variant fades rapidly after a second and third dose of Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine.”
Just days before the second round of the presidential elections in Colombia, a Colombian media outlet released images and video of an exotic party in which Rodolfo Hernández, the candidate of the League of Anti-corruption Governors, participated, with a number of businessmen and several young women on a yacht in Miami. The images generated controversy not only due to the attitude of the candidate, but also because the luxurious party was paid for by the US Pharmaceutical company Pfizer, interested in expanding its business in Colombia.
The images were revealed by the Colombian outlet Cambio which cited a confidential source that stated that the party had taken place on October 9, 2021, when Hernández had not yet revealed, at least publicly, his intention to run for the presidency of Colombia. However, the media outlet drew attention to the fact that “lobbyists interested in doing business with Colombia” participated in the event.
According to the revelation by Cambio, the party was held on a yacht, valued at $4.5 million, and its rental for six hours is about $5,000. On the night of October 9, 2021, the boat made a tour of Biscayne Bay, in Miami, with Hernández, several men—including two of the candidate’s sons—and 11 young women in bikinis.
Cambio also revealed that the party was paid for by Pfizer, which has been lobbying for expanding its business in Colombia. In fact, the video released by Cambio shows several Pfizer executives present on the yacht, including Christopher Ariyan, manager of Pfizer for the Andean countries.
Ahí está Rodolfo Hernández en el yate de los que le están, desde ya, negociandole el país. Es que ese man sí sabe pa lo que es el billlete… "del Pueblo". pic.twitter.com/rhaM9IcvI1
Another participant in the party was Marcio Ramos Pinto, owner of an event management company in Miami, who also works as an “international business lobbyist.”
🚨Escándalo‼️Aparece Vídeo del Candidato a la Presidencia de Colombia🇨🇴Rodolfo Hernández y Su hijo Luis Carlos Hernández Celebrando en lujoso Yate🛥con más de una decena de mujeres en Florida🇺🇲con Ejecutivos de la mega corporación farmacéutica🇺🇲Pfïzer. pic.twitter.com/XYnEAJRoZ7
The images broadcast by the media show the young women dancing and drinking alcohol with Hernández and other men. He also appears dancing with a young woman and, at another point in the video, whispering in the ear of another woman.
Cambio consulted Hernández about who organized the event, who covered the expenses and who the guests were, but he did not respond. However, he later tweeted his displeasure at the criticisms he was receiving for the party, and claimed that his detractors are “desperate” to prevent him from winning the presidency.
Pfizer denied that their employees had met with Hernández “last week” when the candidate had traveled to Miami mid-campaign, but refused to say anything about October 2021, when the party was held.