Colombia Presidential Elections Today, Huge for Latina America

Colombians head to the polls today to make efforts to elect leadership capable of tackling the country’s major issues of economic and political challenges and upheavals.

“Colombians are calling it the most consequential election in decades.”

An unexpected left-wing candidate, Gustavo Petro, joins the political race. Petro infers a bid to improve upon Colombia’s “most politically conservative societies in Latin America,” including a change in ties with the United States:

“Colombia has long been the United States’ strongest ally in the region, and Mr. Petro is calling for a reset of the relationship, including changes to the approach to the drug war and a re-examination of a bilateral trade agreement that could lead to a clash with Washington.”

Federico Gutiérrez is also running for President, as a conservative, right-wing candidate. Gutiérrez faces the challenge of garnering votes whilst the current President Ivan Duque, who is a conservative leader, has many issues facing his leadership. The current economic issues within Colombia, due to the pandemic and poverty in general, have in some cases crumbled and resorted to violence and unrest throughout the country:

Armed group violence in rural areas has surged, chronic problems like poverty and inequality have deepened during the pandemic and mass anti-government protests last summer ended in accusations of serious human rights abuses against state security forces.

Rodolfo Hernández, also a conservative candidate, is running as well and having a surge at the polls. He is relatively unknown and “pushes a populist anti-corruption platform,” which is catching many voters responses at the latest hour of elections.

Petro has become a popular choice for those critical of the conservative-rich political history of Colombia. Several critics are worried, however, “{that} Mr. Petro’s policies would lead to an economic crisis like the one in neighboring Venezuela.”

NY Times
FP Insider
NY Post
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