home

Colombia Elects a New President

Update: With 54% of the vote counted, right wing candidate Ivan Duque has been elected President of Colombia. Really disappointing. Both candidates had a female running mate. Marta Lucía Ramírez will be the first female VP of Colombia. (Had Petro won, the VP would have been Ángela María Robledo. As of the results so far, Duque won in Medellin by 500,000 votes while Petro won in Bogota by 400,000 votes.

Original Post:

Colombia voted in the runoff election today for President. Their choice is right-wing Ivan Duque or leftist Gustavo Petro, a former M-19 rebel and Mayor of Bogota. Harvard-educated Duque, who has the support of evangelicals and ultraconservatives that reject gay marriage and adoption, as well as uber-right former President Alvaro Uribe, and is a huge proponent of escalating the war on drugs, is favored to win. It's seen as a classic fight between right and left. [More...]

Gustavo Bolivar is a leftist author, poet and screenwriter, a long-time Petro supporter who recently became a Senator. I've been following him periodically since I learned he was the screenwriter for the terrific Colombian narco-series "El Capo." (He is more famous for writing "Sin Tetos No Hay Paradiso", but I don't watch that show.) Anyway, Bolivar has this op-ed in El Spectador today on Petro. He describes a time before the start of the campaign when he was living in Miami and Petro and his wife came to visit him for several days. Petro was not crazy about going to Miami because he viewed it a city without a cultural life. He changed his mind a bit when they went to a neighborhood gaining prominence for its graffiti art.

I told him that in Midtown there was a neighborhood called Winwood, which had become famous in the world for its graffiti and asked me to take it. We moved there and he was fascinated. He admired with patience hundreds of murals, of great quality and meaning, expressed by artists, mostly anonymous, but powerful in qualitative terms. Gustavo felt in his sauce. A neighborhood full of art galleries and artists shaping their talents live.

And it is that Petro was a great promoter of street art in Bogotá. He says that social inclusion is the key to security in cities. And he released his statistics, of the hundreds that he remembers: "In Bogota, supporting art and culture among young people from poor neighborhoods, we reduced crime rates by 36%."

How refreshing to see a politician with that attitude. Among the lessons Bolivar says he learned from Petro during the visit: He's not really a leftist so much as a "social democrat" (I wonder if Petro knows Bernie Sanders):

The second lesson that he left us has to do with the perception that we have of the political Petro. One knows that he comes from the left, but there is a contradiction latent in its ideology, since most of its proposals are simply liberal, progressive and, if you will, "social democratic". He speaks of social capitalism, agrarian reform, social justice and the ecological function of the social State of law, which are concepts introduced by the 1991 Constitution.

Gustavo sums up:

If he becomes president, he will go down in history as the ruler who made possible the dream of a humane Colombia, just, less unequal, prosperous, decent in the management of his public resources, self-sustaining in environmental terms and ready for an era of peace . If the opposite happens, we will see him fighting until the day of his death because he will never lower his arms. He is a fighter, stubborn as himself, a warrior in every sense of the word. My name is Gustavo Bolívar and I want Gustavo Petro to be my president.

I want Petro to be his President too.

What does right-wing candidate Duque want? He sounds like a mini-Trump (border security, lower taxes on business, increased investment opportunity, major proponent of the war on drugs, etc.) Among other things, he would undo important justice provisions in the recent peace treaty with FARC. On drugs and electronic monitoring, his platform includes:

4. We will prohibit in the Constitution the admissibility of drug trafficking as a related political crime. Drug trafficking can not be an amnesty in Colombia.

5. The eradication and substitution of illicit crops in Colombia must be obligatory, not "voluntary" as established in the agreements with the Farc.

6. We must assist in border control and critical areas with the extensive use of electronic and satellite monitoring.

...8. We must initiate an international campaign for transparency in the trade of chemical precursors used for drug trafficking.

9. It is necessary to step up cooperation and actions against money laundering to accelerate the extinction of ownership over illicitly obtained assets; including those of the Farc.

Typical of a politician who is a protege of another politician with so many paramilitary ties. Hand-picked to be President by former Colombian President (and now senator) Alvaro Uribe, the duo will do anything to destroy the progressive left in Colombia.

Polls close at 4:00 Colombia time and results should be in by 5:30.

< At the Border: Families Torn Apart
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft


  • Display: Sort: