A preliminary investigation against Bogotá Mayor Claudia López was opened Monday by the country’s Attorney General after a video surfaced of López shopping at a Carulla supermarket with her wife Senator Angélica Lozano. As one of many regulations enforced under the Presidential Decree 457 that governs the National Health Emergency with coronavirus, “only one member per household is permitted to run errands at supermarkets, banks and notaries.”
Claudia López married Angélica Lozano in a civil ceremony on December 19, 2019.
The video in which López and Lozano are clearly seen with shopping carts raised the ire of Bogotanos who have been under lockdown since March 20 when the Mayor enacted a four-day “quarantine drill” with strict policing and fines. The “drill” merged with the Presidential declaration of the National Health Emergency that began March 25 and was set to end April 13, yet extended to May 11.
With Decree 457, persons found in violation of the Obligatory Preventive Isolation face a fine of COP$1 million (US$250) or four to eight years in prison under Article 368 of the Criminal Code. The COP$1 million fine is enforced by the Ministry of Health with Decree 780 of 2016.
Given public outrage over the two politicians seen shopping together while nine million Bogotanos are struggling with quarantine in often crowded and impoverished conditions, Mayor López took to Twitter stating: “I recognize with humility , ask for the public’s pardon and will accept the fine.” She went on to add: “My responsibility is greater as I must set an example. My priority is to save lives.”
This statement was quickly met with more criticism that Mayor López was launching a verbal showdown with President Iván Duque hours before he authorized the gradual easing of the national quarantine by allowing manufacturing and construction workers to resume limited activities starting Monday, April 27. A decision that Mayor López opposes until after May 11 or later.