Tuesday 21 September 2021

Epsy Campbell alleges “racist” and “machismo” campaign against her

Vice President and Chancellor sent a message to her acquaintances in which she adduces "legality" in the recent appointments in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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Under fire for her controversial appointments in her post at the Foreign Ministry, Vice-president Epsy Campbell alleges she is being subjected to “the cruelest and dimensionless racist and machismo.’ violence that has been unleashed on a person who assumes a position of power! I am a woman and I am Afro-descendant.”

The Ethics Ombudsman is investigating the appointment of Catherine Rivera McKinley as Epsy Campbell’s office consultant. The vice president and chancellor recognized Rivera as her goddaughter to legislators. Photo: Mayela López.

Campbell made the assertions, describing a wave of offensive publications against her on the social networks, after alleged improprieties in appointing her goddaughter (ahijada in Spanish), Catherine Rivera McKinley, as an adviser to the Chancellor.

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On Monday, McKinley resigned her post.

On social networks, Campbell is accused of:

  • Having named relatives to key government posts. Campbell says, “I have not named any family members! I challenge anyone to prove otherwise.”
  • Having made inappropriate appointments. Campbell says, “The two officers in the Foreign Ministry that concern me, as minister, are legitimized by the corresponding internal organs; the Legal Department and Human Resources, as well as the approvals by the Civil Service. I challenge anyone to prove that these appointments are illegal according to current regulations and interpretations.”
  • Having made a “piñata” (a whole bunch) of appointments. Campbell says, the bsolute truth is that “the appointments of ambassadors correspond to the Governing Council. I challenge anyone who demonstrates otherwise.”

According to a report by La Nacion, Campbell only spread the message among her acquaintances, confirmed by the press office of the Foreign Ministry. The VP did not issue any public statement or press release, nor posted her comments on social networks.

The racist and sexist insults denounced by Campbell were published by citizens on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Most of these directly allude to the color of her skin.

This Tuesday afternoon, at a press conference at Casa Presidencial after the cabinet meeting, the ministers and leaders of state institutions said that they supported the Chancellor and that they criticized the offensive demonstrations against her.

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Since July, the Public Ministry (Public Prosecutor’s Office) is investigating several appointments in the Foreign Ministry, which were not specified.

In addition, in the case of McKinley in particular, the Office of the Public Ethics Office recently opened an ex-officio investigation.

In turn, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs delivered to the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Office of the Public Ethics Office certified copies of the files on appointments in management positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Additionally, they sent the legal and technical notes that were used to make each of the appointments, “with the aim of demonstrating the suitability of the people who hold these positions and compliance with all legal requirements.”

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Although Campbell recognized the ex-adviser as her goddaughter under oath in Congress, Rivera denied it in her resignation letter on Monday. In that letter, released on Monday by the Foreign Ministry’s communication office, McKinley also argued racist and sexist reasons for her departure, after a “smear campaign against Campbell.”

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