Colombia is going into elections Sunday with a leftist taking a look to make historical past


Attendees all the way through a ultimate marketing campaign rally for presidential candidate Gustavo Petro in Bogotá, Colombia. Petro is forward within the polls for this Sunday’s election, however it is anticipated to visit a 2d around in June.

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Attendees all the way through a ultimate marketing campaign rally for presidential candidate Gustavo Petro in Bogotá, Colombia. Petro is forward within the polls for this Sunday’s election, however it is anticipated to visit a 2d around in June.

Andres Cardona/Bloomberg/Getty Pictures

BOGOTÁ, Colombia — At his ultimate marketing campaign rally earlier than Colombia’s first-round presidential election on Sunday, Gustavo Petro gleefully famous that the powers that be are cringing on the concept that he may win.

“In fact they’re scared,” Petro, a former left-wing-guerrilla-turned-politician, instructed 1000’s of supporters in Bogotá, the capital. “They are scared as a result of we are going to kick them out of energy.”

Polls position Petro because the transparent front-runner and, if elected, he has pledged to carry main adjustments to Colombia that experience dissatisfied the trade category. But when not one of the applicants garners greater than part of the ballots on Sunday, because the polls also are predicting, the 2 best vote-getters will meet in a runoff on June 19.

Presidential candidate Gustavo Petro talks all the way through a presidential debate on the El Tiempo newspaper in Bogotá on Monday, forward of the first-round Would possibly 29 elections.

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Presidential candidate Gustavo Petro talks all the way through a presidential debate on the El Tiempo newspaper in Bogotá on Monday, forward of the first-round Would possibly 29 elections.

Fernando Vergara/AP

Pageant is emerging towards a 2d around

The opposite primary applicants are Federico Gutiérrez, a conservative former Medellín mayor, Rodolfo Hernández, a populist businessman and previous mayor of town of Bucaramanga, and Sergio Fajardo, a centrist former Medellín mayor and previous governor of Antioquia division.

Polls expect that during a 2d around, Petro would beat Gutiérrez or Fajardo. However some surveys position Petro in a statistical useless warmth with Hernández, who has have shyed away from debates and in-person marketing campaign occasions in prefer of social media movies. Nonetheless, he has moved up in contemporary polls and has hooked up to many Colombians together with his pledges to get rid of corruption.

Colombian presidential applicants Federico Gutiérrez (left) and Rodolfo Hernández dangle up indicators all the way through a debate in Bogotá on April 20.

Juan Barreto/AFP by the use of Getty Pictures


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Colombian presidential applicants Federico Gutiérrez (left) and Rodolfo Hernández dangle up indicators all the way through a debate in Bogotá on April 20.

Juan Barreto/AFP by the use of Getty Pictures

“I will pass finally the politicians who’re thieves,” Hernández, 77, stated Wednesday in an interview on Colombian TV. “They don’t seem to be all thieves, however the majority of them are.”

Alternatively, within the runup to the election it is Petro who has made lots of the headlines and has brought about probably the most consternation amongst trade leaders, the army and conservative electorate in a country that hasn’t ever earlier than elected a left-wing president.

He went from insurrection fighter to presidential candidate

Petro as soon as attempted to battle his technique to energy as a member of the M-19 guerrilla staff. The rebels signed a peace treaty in 1990 and because then, Petro has served in Congress and as mayor of Bogotá.

Now on his 3rd run for the presidency, Petro, 62, hopes to sign up for a rising choice of leftists now governing a lot of Latin The usa, together with Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Peru, Chile and Argentina.

Petro guarantees to hike taxes at the wealthy to pay for anti-poverty systems. He desires to renegotiate industry agreements, together with with the USA, he says, to raised give protection to Colombia’s industries and agriculture. To forge a greener economic system, he desires to section out the manufacturing of oil, the rustic’s greatest export, and change that source of revenue with tourism.

A trade proprietor threatened staff who vote for Petro

However all this is able to impress capital flight, trade closures and large unemployment, in keeping with many trade leaders, who’re urging Colombians to reject Petro on the poll field on Sunday.

“Indubitably Colombia has issues. However that is no reason why to jump into the void or to chance radical exchange,” Miguel Cortés, one in every of Colombia’s maximum influential businessmen, stated in a video message to electorate.

Every other trade proprietor, Sergio Araujo, lately tweeted that he would fireplace any of his staff that voted for Petro. In an interview with the Colombian newsmagazine Semana, Araujo referred to as Petro a “destroyer of companies who has spent 5 a long time combating towards unfastened endeavor in Colombia.”

Some middle-class Colombians also are anxious.

Roxanne Restrepo, who works in banking and finance in Bogotá, is anxious about Petro’s plan to borrow from non-public pension budget with a purpose to make bigger retirement advantages for deficient Colombians. And she or he’s now not looking forward to the election to do so.

“I have been sending a few of my financial savings offshore and we have now been looking to look if we will be able to get Portuguese citizenship to look if we wish to go away the rustic,” Restrepo says.

Petro has additionally picked fights with the Colombian military, suggesting closing month that a few of its best officials are running in cahoots with drug traffickers. That induced a livid anti-Petro tirade on Twitter from military commander Gen. Eduardo Zapateiro, even supposing underneath Colombia’s charter the army is meant to stick out of politics.

Former military Col. John Marulanda, who fought towards Petro all the way through the guerrilla battle and now heads a countrywide affiliation of retired army officials, put it bluntly in an interview with NPR: “We do not want an ex-guerrilla, a retired guerrilla being the president of Colombia. And if it occurs, we claim ourselves in opposition.”

He may realign the rustic clear of the U.S.

Marulanda and others additionally query Petro’s dedication to democracy.

For something, Petro intends to forge nearer ties to the authoritarian regime in neighboring Venezuela. That poses a vital shift for Colombia, lengthy intently aligned with the U.S. and a staunch critic of the federal government in Caracas. As a result of his Historical Pact political coalition would lack a majority in Congress, Petro has talked of passing financial rules by means of decree.

No longer most effective “is he now proposing a thorough exchange within the economic system, however he is if truth be told urgent the nuclear button on what he may doubtlessly do to democracy,” says Sergio Guzmán, director of the consulting company Colombia Chance Research.

Petro and his many supporters need exchange

Supporters of presidential candidate Gustavo Petro attend a ultimate marketing campaign rally in Zipaquirá, Colombia, on Would possibly 22, one week earlier than the election.

Fernando Vergara/AP


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Supporters of presidential candidate Gustavo Petro attend a ultimate marketing campaign rally in Zipaquirá, Colombia, on Would possibly 22, one week earlier than the election.

Fernando Vergara/AP

Petro claims such criticisms are unfair and has identified that President Iván Duque, who is not allowed to run for a 2d consecutive time period, additionally handed financial rules by means of decree all the way through the pandemic.

Pissed off over accusations from opposition applicants that he plans to grab non-public belongings if he wins the presidency, Petro held a information convention at a notary public the place he signed a file pledging to not expropriate farms and companies.

And in an interview with NPR closing month, Petro denied that he had a thorough time table. He identified that the United Countries is urging nations to transition clear of hydrocarbons and that elevating taxes at the wealthy to assist the deficient is commonplace sense within the wake of an epidemic that drove Colombia’s poverty fee from 35.7% to 42.5% in 2020.

“Those are customary issues,” Petro stated, talking on Zoom. However in Colombia “they’re observed as leftist and modern.”

Many annoyed Colombians accept as true with Petro.

They come with Sara Gallego, 34, an athletic instructor who attended Petro’s ultimate marketing campaign rally. She checked off an extended record of the rustic’s woes — from unemployment to malnutrition — that she says had been overlooked by means of President Duque and former governments.

That is why, she says, the normal ruling elite has most effective itself responsible for Petro’s recognition.





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