Besides achieving efficient administration, one of the biggest challenges for any president is managing his infighting. The Colombian president, Gustavo Petro, is an example of how complex conflicts can be with the country’s institutions, i.e. with the courts, political parties, unions and productive sectors, and with the media, among others, whom he views as elites. Identifies as The Colombian oligarchy that hinders his mission of change.
The most recent episode, the claim by President Petro to the Attorney General, Francisco Barbosa, led to journalistic condemnations by ‘La Nueva Prensa’, according to which prosecutor Daniel Hernández covered up more than 200 homicides committed by the clan. del Golfo, a powerful criminal organization, despite warnings received some time earlier.
The prosecutor’s response was swift, in addition to denying the charges, accusing the president of endangering the lives of Hernandez and his family. And the president replied: “The prosecutor forgets one thing that the constitution commands: I am the head of state, therefore, its head”, which was interpreted as ignorance of the Magna Carta and the separation of powers. Barbosa raised the glove, reiterating that his choice was made by the Supreme Court and that he does not recognize any of the main presidents. And he sentenced: “What Petro has just done is to say that he is not the president of the republic, but a dictator in Colombia.”
The country went into turmoil. Petro insisted that he was only asking a question that deserved a respectful response, once again fighting the prosecutor’s office. And Barbossa takes advantage of all scenarios to keep the tension up. Experts reviewed the 1991 constitution and questioned both the position of the president and the position of the prosecutor for considering himself supreme leader, whose loquaciousness again crossed the line set by his duties, and reminded him that the constitution was based on cooperation. Considers between the Prosecutor’s Office and the Presidency on information with effects on public order, and on the other hand it does not involve its speaker on government issues that are not within its competence.
Supreme Court called for action
The episode ends with a call on the Supreme Court to pay attention to Petro because “he ignores judicial autonomy and independence”, a pillar of social state law. The President withdraws and acknowledges “the autonomy and independence of the Office of the Attorney General of the Nation and of all branches of public power”. On 9 May, the President and the High Court attend lunch at the Palace of Justice and the waters seem to have returned to their course.
But the question remains in the air: all this wear and tear, for what? The interests of the parties are as different as they are complementary. For prosecutor Barbosa, in addition to defending the organization he heads and which has 23,000 employees, Petro’s standing as a contrarian allows him to raise the discontent of some sectors and position himself at the center and Let’s outline the potential presidential candidate ahead of him, which looks pretty gray today.
Barbosa’s term, elected in 2020, expires in February 2024, giving him two years to seek candidacy. Invemar surveys seem to confirm this: while the unfavorable perception was 72% in June 2021, it dropped to 68% four months after the start of the new government, and reached 55% last April. With a policy of complete peace the counteroffensive has been one of shock issues and it is to be expected that as long as he is in the prosecutor’s office and the differences with the government allow him, Barbosa will continue to take advantage of the visibility of his position and The showcase the President gives him paves the way towards a presidential candidacy.
Two scenarios to consider
In the case of President Petro, two scenarios must be taken into account. First, that of a leader who quickly loses the favor of the people; without decisive achievements in terms of reforms despite having control over the Chamber and the Senate; With a full coalition that undermines the strength of the historic agreement and leaves it to partisan battles and retail negotiations with Congressmen, as their predecessors did.
These include the questionable strategy of complete peace, increasing rates of violence in the region; The next regional and municipal elections, due in October, will show the reality of government support. In the end, the investigation traces the damage his brother and his son have done, and conflicts with various territories. All this, added to the difficult economic landscape, served as a background for their permanent conflicts.
Balconies, sermons in the public square, high-pitched messages and calls in the streets will be the tools of the second possibility: that within its line of rioting the anti-institution flag, justice has come, which many people have had to fight for their reforms. have a real ability to limit their actions when responding to the demands of Maligning magistrates and prosecutors, in addition to repeated disrespect of the courts, will allow them to undermine the legitimacy of decisions and feed their convoluted narrative to networks and balconies.