Colombia has experienced an electrifying election campaign. On the way he is defeated by the right wing, Establishment and the liberal political centre, the powers that have historically ruled the country. The end is a face-off between Gustavo Petro and real estate businessman Rodolfo Hernandez from the left, which is not easy to define. They are tied up in elections. Both represent a change that creates uncertainty in a country that prides itself on having one of the most stable economies in Latin America. Whatever happens on Sunday, the country enters a new political time.
Rudolfone. Petro was the favorite from the start. His opponent seemed to be the right-wing candidate Fico Gutierrez. In silence, in low flight, the movement of Rodolfo Hernandez began to grow. First in its territory, Santander, and then in the center of the country. 77 year old rich man, dishonest and populist who claims to fight corruption and politics alone. He looks like a comic character. When he contested the final stage with Fico, he encouraged everyone to board his bus, Rodolfoneta. He believes that only he can stop Petro.
Petrophobia. It is said of the heightened fear of Petro. Hernandez’s rise has more to do with preventing the former M-19 guerrilla from coming to power than his political genius. Anyone but Petro, anything but a leftist for the president. To counter this, Petro has focused many of its policies and surrounded itself with liberal advisers. He has promised that he will not change the constitution and will not hold the post for more than four years. He may be the first openly leftist president in Colombia’s history, but the fear he instills could be the brakes. Bin Laden or Petro? Some will take a few seconds to respond.
Laundry room. Hernandez has a very simple message that connects people. He throws out “we have to stop the robbery” type phrases that are going viral. He became the mayor of Bucaramanga, accusing all politicians of corruption and thieves. He states that he will control the time divided between a farm in Bogotá and his town of Pedequesta. She is obsessed with reducing the size of the state, even if it means taking bizarre measures like closing embassies. At the start of the campaign, Petro complained to his advisors that he had taken away the flag of the fight against corruption, a fight he had always given. Hernandez’s speech falls aside: he is accused of benefitting his son from a public garbage contract. The prosecution has sufficient evidence against him. Trial will be held after voting. He may be the first elected President to sit on a bench.
Video. Rodolfo Hernandez sneaked into the final vote being semi-anonymous. He does not engage in debates and gives few interviews. His campaign has been virtual, via TikTok videos that are broadcast from an office by some twenty-somethings. Now that he is in the limelight, a cataract of his past recordings has come to the fore, which is no less by his 77 years. His less edifying side comes to the fore: arguments, death threats, pride of getting rich at the expense of the poor, xenophobic and sexist statements. He has been seen on a yacht with Berlusconi-style dancers in Miami. Negative elements for one section of the population, signs of honesty for another are fed up with political correctness. However his popularity plummeted and his strategists decided to limit his appearances on the grounds that he sometimes said things he later regretted. It does not know the working of state institutions. The other day he confused the United Nations with the OAS. Petro moved to the final stage with a small profit for all this, but some media released edited videos of his campaign meetings. Someone recorded them for eleven months – Petro believes the police or secret services – and passed them over to tip the scales against him over the past 10 days. In the images, his strategists plan how to attack rivals with rude language or make sexist remarks about female journalists, Petro’s wife. What was uncovered is not criminal or reprehensible, if you look at it blatantly, but it has cast a shadow of doubt on Petro’s team.
Change. The government of current President Ivan Duque has taunted the public, and it was clear from the start that the country must take a new course. Model is out of stock. Duke’s popularity is at rock bottom. The candidate who supported the Duke party FICO sank. In this second round, the two options face each other, each in its own way, representing a novelty. Petro, the leftist who wants to raise taxes on the rich and benefit the poor from social programs. Hernandez, was Alienation The one who comes to slap the corrupt politicians of all time—he literally did this to an opposition councilor as mayor—. On the constructor, however, Petro’s fears align the entire authority and general protection structures. For intellectual Alejandro Gaviria, one represents change, the other a leap into the void. What is clear is that the day after the vote begins a new political cycle.
hub. Biggest defeat in the election. The race has a political center made up of capable, educated and moderate candidates hoping to represent something new. They gathered around a coalition in which a leader was to emerge, Sergio Fajardo. They soon fell in love with each other and experienced a real internal war. They reached the first round exhausted and without a choice. Now they have broken up again: some have chosen Petro and others Hernandez.
daughters. Sofia Petro, a 20-year-old political science student who is on the campaign trail with her father, said in an interview with EL PAÍS that Hernandez’s presidency could lead to more social unrest than last year. The phrase, misunderstood, was perceived by Petro’s opponents as a threat. The young woman faced lynching on social networks and some media. He didn’t say anything, but his father defended him. The daughter of another candidate has also been in the news. Juliana Hernandez has been missing since 2004. Her father said that she was kidnapped by the ELN and executed when she refused to pay the ransom. He later changed his version and the FARC convicted him. She recently said she was shot in the forehead, but never said where she got that version. Close family members tell other confusing anecdotes about it. His story is an unsolved mystery.
the killing. A ghost that has flown over the entire campaign. The list of political killings in the country is long. Petro wears an armored shirt and his escorts usually surround him at the top of the platforms. The fear of dying violently appears to him like a flash when he is in the midst of a crowd. Many thought that he would be attacked if his candidature remained invincible. The problem is that the army protecting him took away the image of a candidate from the public. In these past two weeks he has stopped giving rallies and visiting the homes of ordinary Colombians. Hernandez assures that they want to kill him too, though not with a lead “but with a knife.” He said this in Miami, where he planned to stay until the danger subsided. “I’m so salty that I don’t die and I live in a wheelchair,” he said. His estimated longevity is indicated: Donna Cecilia, his mother, is 97 years old.
debate. Petro has been in politics for 40 years and even his enemies consider him a master of conflict of ideas. Hernandez didn’t want to be face to face with him or dead. except his advisors. It was something that was not going to happen. However, a court ruling forced them to argue this week. They had 48 hours to agree on the logistics. Petro tried to make it through by all means, while Hernandez was uninterested and let time go in his favor with legal arguments. Neither he nor his strategists ever answered the phone.
Installation. The aristocracy no longer holds a president. Businessmen unanimously supported Fico, who invested an exorbitant amount of money in the campaign. His face reached every corner of the country. He remained on the road. The next president will be a hated candidate among the wealthy like Petro, or a millionaire builder with connections in his area, but unknown in Bogota’s most selective circles. Hernandez’s bad behavior will raise more than one eyebrow in the capital’s social clubs. The traditional structure of Colombian power has been shaken.