After 200 years, the left in Colombia

After 200 years, the left in Colombia

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The last three weeks of the campaign have been so fierce – filthy, some said – with polls predicting such a close result that Camp Petro was already calling it fraud, that the worst was to be expected.

The opposite happened. A vote without any incident. We voted in peace, there has been no armed conflict since 2016.

There was no major soccer game and Father’s Day, at the request of the merchants, was postponed for a week. And more than ever Colombians voted: a participation rate of 58%! A record, 1.2 million votes more than in the first round.

Young people, women, more supporters of Gustavo Petro came out in greater numbers than those of the Uribist right (Alvaro Uribe, former all-powerful ex-president and his young emulator, Ivan Duque, very unpopular) who voted no matter who except Petro.

The gap, 700,000 votes, and the quick defeat concession of opponent Rodolfo Hernandez, 77, allayed any fears of a violent transition. The last week of non-campaigning (on TikTok essentially) on a single theme, corruption was fatal to him.

We brought out in the media his questionable remarks and behavior as mayor of Bucaramanga, and an evening on a yacht in Miami at the end of 2021 with his sons and young ladies in undress that the opponents described as Berlusconesques (of the former Italian president Berlusconi).

The engineer, his nickname, has accepted the post of senator which the constitution reserves for the loser in the presidential election and he promises to collaborate provided that the new president sincerely attacks, as he too has promised, the corruption.

A titanic challenge

Colombians are unanimous on one thing: the country is doing badly, very badly.

The economy, a badly managed pandemic, an unrespected peace agreement, too many Venezuelan exiles, the 4 years of non-renewable mandate of Gustavo Petro will resemble the 12 labors of Hercules: endemic corruption, small and high level drug trafficking , Clan del Golfo, Oficina de Envigado (heiress of Pablo Escobar), ELN guerrillas, FARC dissidents, rising crime, hostility from the hard right and certain business circles… just four years.

The victory speech of this populist candidate, authoritarian in his entourage, is conciliatory, generous.

It announces a historic change, but a real change, that of life. Not for revenge, to fuel hatred, not to deepen bigotry, but change for national accord. He invites all opposition, his rival, up to Alvaro Uribe, to the presidential palace. No mas guerrachanted the crowd during his speech.

Colombia is at a major turning point in its history.

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