Uruguay: Lacalle Pou’s former bodyguard “spied” on the President’s ex-wife on his request
Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou and his wife, Lorena Ponce de León, separated earlier this year. Two months later, on July 3rd, the then head of security for the president and his family –currently in prison accused of falsifying passports among other crimes–, Alejandro Astesiano, asked the deputy executive director of the National Police, Jorge Berriel, to inquire in “confidential mode” about a personal trip of the woman who still presents herself as the first lady of Uruguay on her social media.
Sorry about the time, we are in Colombia, Astesiano wrote to Berriel at 23:44 on July 3. We have mode booked to find out Lorena Ponce de Leon. She travels tomorrow at 6 a.m. Where she is going. Totally reserved, added the president’s custodian. Lacalle was then in Colombia, where he had traveled on an official visit to hold a meeting with the then-president of that country, Iván Duque.
Complicated, but we’ll see, Berriel replied, as revealed in chats published by MVD Noticias and which are part of the investigation into Astesiano, who is charged and remanded in custody for the commission of three crimes.
Then, Astesiano replied: We only know that at 5 o’clock you have to be at the airport. Thank you.
Astesiano is currently in prison charged with three crimes, awaiting an agreement with the Prosecutor’s Office or the trial. The analysis of hundreds of WhatsApp chats recovered from the cell phone of the former personal custodian of the President continues to provide investigators with crucial material in an unprecedented court case in Uruguay’s political history.
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In addition, he explained that they were in the avio”, referring to the plane (avión in Spanish) in which he traveled with Lacalle to Uruguay. Let’s see the message when we land in Montevideo, he added.
Same when I do the migration, the president’s then custodian wrote via WhatsApp. The deputy executive director of the National Police replied: Ok, I’ll find out something for you.
Astesiano clarified: Only to you, in reference to the confidentiality of the information and the request.
At 0:33 a.m. on July 4, Berriel sent a message with precise information: He is on LATAM flight LA2421 at 06:52 a.m. with destination Lima.
Nine hours later, he added: He is traveling with an American passport.
He is now leaving on LATAM flight LA2421 at 06:52 a.m. bound for Lima and there he connects with LA 2464 with final destination Miami. He already did Migrations and is on the flight, and would return on 09.07 from Sao Paulo on flight LA8118 at time 09.55, reported Berriel.
She traveled on a Latam flight, at the airport they do not have the destination yet, now they are going to find out, but they are trying to do it without asking for her so as not to attract attention, assured the police chief, and clarified: Just in case, the plane has just taken off, she left 5 minutes before the scheduled time.
The government is furious and says it was due to “security reasons”
Lacalle’s entourage is very upset with the publication of these conversations because they understand that they concern the president’s family life. They consider that a limit was crossed.
Officials close to the President told Montevideo Portal that Astesiano’s inquiry is based on the security of the president and his family. Even though Ponce de León is no longer Lacalle’s partner, they are still married and she is the mother of his underage children, so she still has custody. It is not optional, they insisted.
They expressed that the way in which the data of Ponce de León’s trip was accessed is framed in a private moment of the ex-couple.
Some opposition representatives interpreted the content of the chats as an act of spying by the president on his ex-partner.
At the same time, several pro-partisan members of the opposition came out on networks to support the journalists of El Observador daily, who spread the information in their personal Twitter accounts despite the fact that the newspaper directors decided not to publish it.
For Frente Amplio (Broad Front) Senator Alejandro Sánchez, the President used the State to spy on Ponce de León.