Bogota – The Colombian government on Tuesday blocked the construction of a controversial luxury hotel in the Tayrona Nature Park due to the involvement in the project of two relatives of President Juan Manuel Santos.
"Therefore, the potential ecotourism project in the Tayrona Park is dead," Environment and Sustainable Development Minister Frank Pearl said in a statement.
Pearl said that he met on Tuesday with Santos to tell him of the hotel initiative, in which the president's brother Felipe Santos and former Vice President Francisco Santos, the head of state's cousin, could have been involved.
Some press accounts had mentioned that both men were in the group of parties with an interest in the project, which is being promoted by a group of Colombians with Thailand's Six Senses chain.
The publications said that the pair could have participated in the past in "some conversations related to that potential project," according to Pearl, although he emphasized that neither one of the men at the present time has any connection with or interest in the initiative.
Nevertheless, he said that "from the first Cabinet meeting, the president was clear in affirming that any business or initiative related to the state in which any of his relatives could have participated or actually did participate would not be carried out."
The project already faced obstacles, as the family that owns the Colombia company proposing the development was implicated in a scandal over farm subsidies.