Petro, a historic victory

With little more than 98 percent of the tables counted, it was confirmed the triumph of Gustavo Petro, candidate of the Historical Pact, in the second round of the presidential elections in Colombia. Petro gathered 50.51 percent of the votes against 47.22 for his rival. It is a extraordinary victory, of projections not only national but also continental. The first, because it is produced in a country subjected for long decades to the discretion of one of the most brutal and bloodthirsty rights from Latin America. The twilight of his predominance was glimpsed in the first electoral round when uribism, as the personification of those nefarious political forces, could not even guarantee that one of its several candidates could reach the ballot. That is why they had to resort to an operetta character like Rodolfo Hernandez, in whom they poured all their support and tried to present him as if he were a statesman when in reality he was a buffoon, and they failed in their endeavor. The candidates of the Historical Pact had to fight against an establishment that controls all the levers of power in Colombia, and succeed in defeating it. A merit that, without a doubt, should be greeted by all the democratic forces of Latin America and the Caribbean.

We also said that it is a victory for continental projections because it reaffirms the winds of change who regained momentum in the region, after a brief interregnum of the right, with the election of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico in July 2018, followed the following year by the victories of Alberto Fernández in Argentina and Evo Morales in Bolivia, the latter frustrated by the conspiracy hatched by the OAS, the White House and the Bolivian fascist right. However, with the victory of Luis Arce in 2020, the course provisionally abandoned due to the coup was resumed and, subsequently, the victories of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, Pedro Castillo in Peru, Xiomara Castro in Honduras and Gabriel Boric in Chile, to whom adds that of the Historical Pact in Colombia reaffirmed the desire for change that is felt more and more strongly in this, the most unequal continent on the planet. This constitutes a promising backdrop against which the great battle of the presidential elections in Brazil will be waged next October, where everything seems to indicate that Luiz Inacio “Lula” de Silva should emerge victorious. In that case, we would once again have a Latin America mostly dyed red – a pale red, no doubt – but red nonetheless, and one that opens the doors for renewed waves of transformation.

Obviously the tragic Colombian history It forces us to be cautious. Petro is supposed to assume the presidency on August 7, when a new anniversary of the battle of Boyacá is commemorated. It is therefore necessary to overcome a slope of almost two months before the candidate of the Historical Pact takes up residence in the Palace of Nariño. Latin American history is rich in examples of stolen elections, assassinations and all kinds of stratagems designed to circumvent the will of the majority of the population. We cannot forget what happened in Chile, when after the victory of Salvador Allende on September 4, 1970, the right wing launched with all its might – with the emphatic support of Nixon from the White House – to prevent the Plenary Congress from ratifying the victory of the Popular Unity candidate. And in that effort they did not hesitate to assassinate René Schneider Chereau, a constitutionalist soldier and commander in chief of the Army, who had expressed the legalistic vocation of the weapon.

In a country like Colombia, weighed down by a succession of “narco-governments” that forged a solid alliance between the paramilitarism, the narco and the State security apparatuses, it would not be surprising the existence of extreme right-wing sectors willing to do anything to prevent the assumption of Gustavo Petro and Francia Márquez and, if that is not possible, to handcuff them once in office so that they cannot govern. Let us not forget that in socio-political terms in recent years Colombia has become a North American protectorate, with at least seven military bases from that country installed in its territory and it would be naive to think that tonight US officials will be toasting Petro’s triumph. Therefore, the Historical Pact has to redouble its attitude of permanent vigilance to prevent his victory from being swiped by the powerful Colombian right wing – which controls wealth, the judiciary and the big media – and their backers based in Washington. And for this it will be essential to have “the other power” alternative to that of the establishment: the conscious, organized and mobilized people. The worst thing that could happen to the good and noble people gathered in the Covenant would be to think that the task has been completed and that it is time to return home. That is why it is encouraging to know that a few hours ago Petro wrote in a tweet that “today is the day of the streets and squares.” He would add, however, that from now on every day should be in streets and squares because it is the only, exclusive, guarantee that a popular government has. It is not a piece of advice from this modest analyst, but the central thesis of Niccolò Machiavelli when inquiring about the foundations of the political stability of popular governments. I hope that Petro, France and all his people take into account what the father of modern political science wrote.

Leave a Reply