Colombia’s government rejected Tuesday the proposal to build a seven-star mega-hotel in Tayrona National Park.
The project was scrapped after a meeting between President Juan Manuel Santos and Environment Minister Frank Pearl revealed that members of Santos’ family may have been involved in the project’s development.
According to RCN Radio, Pearl indicated that his decision came “following information that two of the president’s relatives, Mr. Felipe Santos and former Vice President Francisco Santos, had participated a few years ago in various conversations related to the potential project.”
Those conversations were with resort company Six Senses.
Francisco Santos, who is currently the director of RCN Morning News, said, “Yes. There was a meeting with the company, because part of our work was investor confidence, but there are no family interests in this project.”
He went on to say, “…when I was vice president, I worked to bring investments from the foreign firm Six Senses… I traveled throughout Europe and Asia trying to bring this investment to Colombia.”
In his defense Pearl reminded that, “Although none of them [Santos'] today have any economical interest in the project, the president’s dictum is that any business or initiative related to the state in which his relatives have any involvement cannot be done, so the potential ecotourism project in Tayrona Park is dead.”
Tayrona National Park was labeled by Colombian senators opposed to the project as “one of the most important natural resources on the planet,” and “a relic of ecology and environment, which represents world heritage.”
The cancellation of the hotel project is sure to please the indigenous people living in the park as they consider the area to be sacred grounds that should not be disturbed.