Colombian Presidential Election Reside: Petro and Hernández Face Off in Tight Race

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Credit score…Nathalia Angarita for The New York Occasions

One of many candidates is Gustavo Petro, a former insurgent and longtime senator who’s making a bid to turn out to be Colombia’s first leftist president, calling for a metamorphosis of the financial system.

The opposite is Rodolfo Hernández, a development magnate who has turn out to be the nation’s most disruptive political phenomenon in a era, galvanizing voters largely by way of his huge social media presence with guarantees of “complete austerity.” ” and a scorched-earth strategy to corruption.

At stake in Sunday’s presidential election is the destiny of Latin America’s third-largest nation, the place poverty and inequality have risen throughout the pandemic and polls present rising mistrust in almost each main establishment. Final 12 months’s anti-government protests introduced a whole bunch of 1000’s of individuals onto the streets in what grew to become often known as the “nationwide strike,” the shadow of which hangs over Sunday’s vote.

“The entire nation is begging for change,” mentioned Fernando Posada, a Colombian political scientist, “and that’s completely clear.”

The candidates enter the election roughly tied within the polls, and the outcome may very well be so shut that it takes days to find out a winner.

Whoever lastly achieves a victory may have the accountability to deal with the nation’s most urgent issues and their international repercussions: the shortage of alternatives and the rise in violence, which have led to a file variety of Colombians migrating to the US lately. months; excessive ranges of deforestation within the Colombian Amazon, a crucial buffer towards local weather change; and rising threats to democracy, a part of a pattern within the area.

Each candidates encourage anger and hope in voters, and the election has divided households, dominated the nationwide dialog and introduced a glossary of web memes that kind a snapshot of the nationwide temper: Mr. Hernandez calls “loopy ” to your skeptics on TikTok; Mr. Petro selling a jingle selling a twist to the illicit observe of shopping for votes.

“You idiot them first,” says the refrain, referring to the nation’s political elite, “take their cash and vote for Petro.”

Each candidates say they’re up towards a conservative elite that has managed the nation for generations.

Among the many elements that the majority distinguish them is what they see as the foundation of Colombia’s issues.

Petro believes the financial system is damaged, reliant too closely on oil exports and a flourishing unlawful cocaine enterprise that he says has made the wealthy richer and the poor poorer. He requires a halt to all new oil exploration, a shift to the event of different industries and an growth of social applications, whereas imposing increased taxes on the rich.

“What we now have in the present day is the results of what I name ‘the exhaustion of the mannequin,’” Petro mentioned in an interview, referring to the present financial system. “The tip result’s brutal poverty.”

Nevertheless, his formidable financial plan has raised issues. A former Minister of Finance I call his power plan “financial suicide”.

Hernández doesn’t wish to reform the financial framework, however says it’s inefficient as a result of it’s riddled with corruption and frivolous spending. He has referred to as for combining ministries, eliminating some embassies and shedding inefficient authorities workers, whereas utilizing the financial savings to assist the poor.

“The sensation they’ve,” he mentioned of his followers, “is that I’ve the power to confront the political clique, take away them from energy to assert the rights of the poorest.”

His critics say he’s proposing a brutal type of capitalism that can hurt the nation.

Petro is accused by former allies of a vanity that leads him to disregard advisers and battle to construct groups. Mr. Hernández is accused of being vulgar and domineering, and has been indicted on corruption costs, with a trial set for July 21. He says that he’s harmless.

Whatever the consequence, the nation may have a black girl as vp for the primary time: Francia Márquez, an environmental activist on the Petro ticket, or Marelen Castillo, a former college administrator on the Hernández ticket.

In Might, throughout the first spherical of voting, Yojaira Pérez, 53, within the northern division of Sucre, referred to as her vote for Petro a sort of payback, reflecting the temper of an voters that has helped increase candidates of the 2 males. competing on Sunday.

“Now we have to punish the identical outdated politicians who’ve been dominant in Colombia,” he mentioned, “who’ve needed to control and handle Colombia as if it had been a puppet, as if we had been their puppets.”


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