The recent inauguration of Gustavo Petro as president of Colombia was a departure from that of his predecessors and was full of symbols that represent the change implied by the rise of the country’s first leftist president.
The recent Colombian elections and the predictions regarding the outcome of the Brazilian elections in October allow us to ask, as we pointed out fifteen years ago, what is the meaning of these changes.
The ruling elites and certain media have insisted that Colombia has the most stable democracy in the region. However, in 212 years of republican history the country has been ruled by a few family dynasties.
After decades of armed insurgency comes, by democratic means, the rise of a dissident political movement that includes a veteran of that insurgency and an emerging figure from a significant minority such as Afro-Colombians.
One of the areas in which the future president and the government’s own program of the Historical Pact did not delve too deeply is international relations. What can we expect from the new government?
The triumph of the Historical Pact marks a break with an interpretation of reality in which the entire left was considered an extension of the guerrillas.
Unlike Hugo Chavez and Nicolás Maduro, the Colombian president-elect seems to understand that “pernicious polarization” and annihilation of the adversary are contradictory to democracy.
Petro was prepared to compete with a sort of “Duque’s version”, but a Bolsonaro-Trump Colombian version emerged, who moved from Facebook and Twitter to TikTok, and who has two well-known props in the region: anti-corruption and anti-politics discourses.
The 14.5 million votes for Petro and Rodolfo are votes against a hegemonic project and a way of making politics that are extremely worn out. The majority are fed up with the uribist right-wing and the political “machineries”.
Rodolfo Hernández is the big surprise. His outsider condition and anti-politics advocate against traditional elitism enjoys a remarkable audience. A better than expected breeding ground for a candidate who is a sort of Donald Trump.