President Barack Obama arrived in the Colombian coastal resort city Friday, a visit that marks the most time a U.S. president has spent in that country.
But yesterday separate security incidents — one involving bomb blasts and the other involving the Secret Service — overshadowed the start of the sixth Summit of the Americas.
Within hours of the arrival of president Obama, an undisclosed number of Secret Service agents traveling with him were relieved of duty and replaced, said Edwin Donovan, an agency spokesman.
“There have been allegations of misconduct made against the Secret Service in Cartagena, Colombia, prior to the president’s trip,” Donovan said in a statement.
Donovan declined to identify the nature of the alleged misconduct, saying only the mater was being turned over to the agency’s internal affairs.
Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, told The Washington Post that the accusations relate to at least one agent having involvement with prostitutes in Cartagena.
Amid the reports that Secret Service agents were being replaced, three small blasts occurred nearly back-to-back in Cartagena.
The explosions, one near a bus station, another near a shopping mall, and another in the U.S. embassy of Bogota occurred well away from where the world leaders were gathering for the start of the summit, said Alberto Cantihho Toncell, a spokesman for the Colombia National Police.
There were no casualties, and only minor damage was reported, Toncell said.
The explosions came on the heels of a similar one earlier in the day near the U.S. Embassy in the capital city of Bogota, authorities said.
The blasts were a reminder of the violence that has gripped Colombia. (FL)