Petro makes its riskiest bet yet and shocks Colombia

Gustavo Petro feels he wasted his first year in government. He formed a concentration cabinet that included the Colombian liberal center, which calmed the right-wing and most conservative sectors, who saw Petro as the arrival of the radical left in the country. Ministers of that political sensitivity balanced the most ideological positions of Petrism, who, and it must be said, attended the first decisions of the President with a certain disillusionment. Thus, a majority coalition in Congress was established and a tax reform carried out, the issue that had sunk his predecessor Ivan Duque. However, tensions between Petro and these politicians increased over time. The President advocated total change; To acupuncture them and not to destroy the construction built by Colombian institutions in recent decades, which is no small thing compared to other countries in the region. This clashed with the vision of the presidential transition and it was clear that sooner or later it was going to end in a confrontation. They fired him and from then on he thought that he should not go back on the promises he had given to his voters during the campaign.

That disruptive Petro emerged in full force on Friday, when in a speech in the city of Cali he opened the door to a constituent assembly that would overcome the impasse his reforms have stalled in Congress due to a lack of quorum. It particularly hurts the health sector, which received a blow on Wednesday from some senators who, in a majority vote, signed the report sinking it. That night, the President assured in a stern tone that he was not going to give up and that changes in the Colombian public health service were urgently necessary. He accused his opponents of refusing to implement his election demands. Moreover, he is said to have difficulty in giving birth to other reforms like agricultural reforms, pensions and even education proposals. Petro feels chained.

It is not known whether the President planned to make this announcement or whether he informed those around him about it. Sometimes people close to him find out about his public statements. Of course, Petro was very happy on Friday. He appeared before thousands of supporters in the Puerto Resistencia neighborhood of Cali, who had been defiant during the 2021 protests and blocked access to authorities and police. For months a kind of independent republic was created. Black boys, victims of systemic racism, without access to university education and with precarious jobs, armed themselves with sticks and took refuge behind barricades. Many people paid the price of their lives for these confrontations which Ivan Duke defended without even once mentioning the victims. Petro’s rise to power is explained, in large part, by his channeling of that fulfillment. So on Friday, there, before indigenous people and popular sectors, he said: “We come from the front lines and we are proud. I am from the front line. “I am the first in line for change.” He said: “We come from the people and they chose us to transform Colombia. “We are not here to clean the shoes of the rich in the country.”

His enemies, very literal on occasions, began to preach that he had recognized that he had organized the protests, that he was a kind of shadow agitator who, with coolness and premeditation, was making political gains out of it. Believed in getting benefits. Duke himself spread the lie in an interview that he conducted himself in English to deny international newspaper coverage, which documented the killings of young people during the protests, sometimes in cold blood and Without any conflict. The fact that on Friday the President was taking a mass bath was at the center of the protests there. It was the perfect setting to unleash his epic. Shy at short distances, he turns on the stage and can speak for hours with flowery verbiage without needing to read a piece of paper, the way the older statesmen who inspired him, such as the late George Eliécer Gaitton.

This is the context in which he announced a possibility that has shocked Colombia: “If this possibility of a popularly elected government in the middle of this state and under the Constitution of Colombia cannot enforce the Constitution because they to surround it and “If they stop it, then Colombia will have to go to the National Constituent Assembly.” Then he added: “The National Constituent Assembly will have to change the institutions so that they comply with the people with their mandate of peace and justice. do, which is easy to achieve in Colombia.” The networks were filled with messages of disapproval and self-fulfilling prophecies: many of those opposing his government predicted that he would seek reforms to the constitution that would allow him to Among other things, eliminating the ban on re-election would allow him to remain in power for another four years, although this would require him to have a higher level of popularity than he has now, which is around 30%.

Even one of his most loyal political operatives, Senator Iván Cepeda, pushed Petro indirectly and always in his elegant way of looking at things, to reconsider his positions and achieve greater consensus. Invited to open: “I continue to believe in the possibility of a national.” An agreement that allows concrete solutions to the country’s fundamental problems. I understand and agree with the President’s disapproval @petrogustavo An attempt to thwart social reforms that seek the well-being of the Colombian people. However, I do not lose hope that through negotiations we will produce that historic agreement and I invite the President to persist in that effort.” Looking back, we now remember the events of Pedro Castillo’s self-coup. Understand the defense of Petro, whom he always considered a victim of obstruction by the Peruvian Congress. It is not that he is going to commit such a big political suicide, but it shows how fed up he is with the lower house.

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There are many risks involved in embarking on the adventure of a National Constituent Assembly. It would need the support of the same Congress it opposes and members would be elected by popular vote. Right now his mandate is not popular enough to ensure a majority there and he could end up like Gabriel Boric, whose new constitution was not approved and strengthened the extreme right. That fateful day for Boric, Petro said that “Pinochet is resurrected,” and a few hours later the Chilean president was more diplomatic, accepting defeat. Petro could enter that maze. The Venezuelan opposition has come out against him: he reminds them of the first Hugo Chávez who laid the foundation for an authoritarian government. This is not their objective – they have advocated for a democratic transition in Venezuela that ends the political and institutional crisis – nor do they have the power or support to do anything like that. However, with this he has drawn a line. From now on, the Constituent Assembly would dominate the public debate, the outcome of which is still unknown. Petro enters the marshy waters.

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(TagstoTranslate)Colombia(T)United States(T)Latin America(T)Gustavo Petro(T)Constituent Assembly(T)Congress of Deputies(T)Democracy(T)Colombian Constitution

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