Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is pushing back against the Maria Elvira Salazar campaign over a radio ad that appeared to imply Uribe had endorsed her campaign.
Uribe offered words of support for Salazar, who is now the Republican candidate in the race for Florida’s 27th Congressional District, in a video that has since been uploaded to her YouTube channel.
According to a report from El Nuevo Herald, the video was recorded by Abelardo De La Espriella, a Colombian lawyer. In it, Uribe offers praise for Salazar’s long career.
Salazar then used portions of that video in a radio ad which aired on Radio Caracol 1260 in Miami. But according to Uribe, his comments were not meant to take sides in the race between Salazar and Democratic nominee Donna Shalala.
“In recent days, I sent a message of appreciation to the journalist, Maria Elvira Salazar, for her career and gratitude for her solidarity,” read a letter from Uribe obtained by the Shalala campaign.
“We have been alerted that the message has been used for political purposes in the campaign to benefit her advancement for Congress of the United States. I reiterate that the messages sent by me, to people in their official capacity, do not represent political support, but rather a tightening of fraternal relationships.”
Uribe went on to say the he and his political party “reiterate our commitment to maintain respectful and bipartisan diplomatic relations, with the congressman and candidates in the United States, without any preference in elections.”
A request for comment to the Salazar campaign regarding the ad was not returned.
Mike Hernandez, spokesperson for the Shalala campaign, argues Salazar’s use of Uribe’s comments was dishonest.
“At a minimum, Maria Elvira Salazar was misleading voters of the 27th Congressional District into believing that former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe supported her candidacy,” Hernandez said.
“At worst, Maria Elvira Salazar was lying. Whatever the case, shame on Maria Elvira Salazar! She owes voters an apology.”