Election dirty trickster says he was involved with Araya’s campaign

The leftist Frente Amplio political party is asking the national election monitor to see if an admitted fixer was involved in the last presidential campaign.

Gerardo Vargas, president of  Frente Amplio, said that he also wanted the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones to find out if any campaign funds from the Partido Liberación Nacional campaign went to the fixer.

The fixer is Andres Sépulveda, a computer hacker who is serving a 10-year sentence in Colombia for manipulating political campaigns in Latin America.

He spoke openly with a reporter about his involvement in a number of campaigns and said he was involved with the presidential campaign of Johnny Araya Monge. Araya ran for president two years ago and now he is the mayor-elect of San José.

According to an interview published by Bloomberg Businessweek Thursday, Sépulveda offered hijacking of emails, manipulation of social media to create false trends and robbery

of confidential data from campaigns in México, Venezuela and Colombia, among others.

In the case of Costa Rica, the investigation does not provide further details of Sépulveda´s role in the 2014 Araya´s presidential campaign. However, Andrew Willis, one of the reporters in charge of the investigation told daily La Nación that Sépulveda´s work involved checking the opposition Web sites and finding vulnerabilities of other candidates.

Araya has denied any connection with Sépulveda or Juan José Rendón, a Venezuelan political adviser who would have been the contact between the hacker and those who required his services.

Araya withdrew from a presidential runoff March 5, 2014, claiming that the political atmosphere showed him a strong desire of the population for a change in power. One month before, on February he had obtained 29.71 percent of votes, leaving him just a little behind Luis Guillermo Solís, the eventual president who got 30.64 percent at the time.

Last Feb. 7, Araya was elected as the new San José mayor and will take office May 1. He had held the same position from 1998 to 2013. 

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