The Colombian government’s 57% majority stake in electricity provider Isagen, which provides 17% of the country’s energy supply (Colombia Reports, 14.01.2016), was abruptly sold to Canadian investment fund Brookfield Asset Management for $2.2 billion on 12 January 2016. Although Santos had long defended the move for plugging the fiscal gap and improving investment conditions, influential congressmen have joined the general public in reacting with outrage, calling it one of the greatest public losses in recent history.

Since the sale, the government has revealed more directions for the proceeds, which mostly include funding for highways, bridges and tunnels nationwide – known as ‘4G’ projects (Reuters, 25.02.2016). These are supposedly essential for lubricating a boosted investment environment following a peace deal with the FARC. However, a cluster of negative theories has been collated by political rivals, media critics and prosecutors as to why Brookfield was the only bidder in Isagen’s ‘bargain’ sale. Long-term political arguments and possible conflicts of interest both have a role to play.