Colombia’s presidential office manipulates video of President Petro at UN to hype applause

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Colombian government manipulated a video to alter the applause received by President Gustavo Petro during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The Associated Press reviewed the video and was able to verify that it was altered. The recording released by the presidential office incorporated applause for U.S. President Joe Biden, who spoke moments before Petro, making it appear the applause was directed at the Colombian leader.

The manipulation was first reported by the Colombian website La Silla Vacía.

The presidential office was asked for comment by AP but had not responded by late Friday afternoon.

Although Petro did receive applause, the final clip of the video posted Thursday on the government’s YouTube channel does not correspond to what was broadcast in the U.N. video. It incorporates a different shot to the original broadcast and to what was broadcast in the media, making it seem that many more attendees applauded Petro at the end of his speech.

The recording raised doubts among social media users and the media, given that there were several empty seats in the General Assembly during Petro’s speech.

At 1:52:39 of the official U.N. broadcast, the same applause that the Colombian government video shows going to Petro is heard but it is at the end of Biden’s his address.

The U.N. video also shows that three men in the seventh row stand up at the same time and that a woman walks towards the podium between the seats, the same scene that appears in the video released by Colombia’s presidential office.

AP photographer Richard Drew captured the moment of Petro’s speech in a photo and shows that in the seventh row there were only people sitting in three of the 12 seats. In the edited video released by the Colombian government, all those seats look to be occupied.

This year’s annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly brought together heads of state and government from at least 145 countries, including Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva,Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

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