BOGOTA, Colombia – In the first round of presidential elections on Sunday, Colombians will make the election to lead Latin America's third strongest nation in a troubled moment by growing cocaine production, a shaky peace agreement with a Marxist rebel group and the influx of Venezuelan migrants who pour across the border to escape an economic crisis next door.
The conservative 41-year-old lawyer Iván Duque conducted polls before the election, followed by the progressive 58-year-old economist and ex-mayor of Bogotá, Gustavo Petro.
Other candidates include a mathematician who was the centralist mayor of Medellín, Sergio Fajardo, and a former vice president, Germán Vargas Lleras, in the center right.
No candidate is expected to win on Sunday and there will probably be a run-off likely to affect Duque and Petro. This vote would take place on 1
Colombia is polarized. A 2016 peace agreement led to the demobilization of thousands of FARC rebel group fighters last year, but while some Colombians want to forgive and carry on, others are frustrated and insist on harsher punishment for FARC leaders than is currently pending.
And a wave of poor Venezuelan migrants illegally entering Colombia is questioning an underemployed worker.
In the aftermath of the conflict, the security problems of the longtime American ally change. The next president of Colombia has to deal with a significant increase in coca cultivation areas. After two decades and a $ 10 billion US aid package to combat drug trafficking groups, a small number of violent criminal organizations have emerged with the end of the fighting. Peace talks with the ELN, a smaller rebel group, appear fragile.
"If Petro wins, it could cause major problems for Colombia's relations with the United States, at least because I think Trump's immediate response to Petro would be huge," said Philip Paterson, a Latin American analyst at Oxford Analytica , "We could see much more frustration between Washington and Bogota regarding Washington pushing for the eradication programs for coca harvests – which I believe would make Petro far less likely to continue where Duque would enthusiastically do it."
The Problems The minds of voters reflect a Colombia more and more resembling its South American neighbor, where corruption, frustration over access to effective health care, and respect for the environment are in line with Colombia's centuries-old political debates over the fight against compete in drug trafficking and stop the armed conflict.
For the voters, Duque is a nostalgic return to the harsh security situation of former President Alvaro Uribe. Duque calls for harsher penalties for FARC leaders who are currently under limited liberties when juries speak the truth in a special court.
He was elected Senator in Uribe's Centro Democratico in 2014. Previously, he worked at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington.
Duque argues that the Colombian economy is hampered by regulations and taxes on private companies. He calls for tax cuts and cuts in public spending.
Alexandra de Brigard, a 47-year-old architect, said she supported Duque in the hope that he would make Colombia what it was before the departure of outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos in 2010.
"I am of the generation that has lived a truly horrific and violent chapter of Colombian history, and Uribe saved us when it seemed we had no hope," she said.
"Santos did exactly the opposite of what he had promised, the exact opposite of Uribe," she added, reflecting the regret and frustration of many pro-duque voters that Santos's two-thousanders represent the continuity of Uribe's hardline Security policy with FARC has broken.
Victor Manuel Sierra, also 47, says he's in favor of Duque because his 25-person cable-wire business is stifling under heavy tax burdens. 19659017] Critics insist that behind Duque's moderate rhetoric are tight, ultraconservative sectors backed by regional economic elites.
"Duque represents a defense of the status quo," said Alvaro Villarraga of the Democratic Culture Foundation a former member of a left-wing armed movement known as M-19. He worked for his political wing until disarmed in 1991 as part of a peace process.
Petro was elected to the Senate and gained a reputation for detecting corruption. In 2011 he was elected mayor of Bogotá.
Petro wants to dismantle the Colombian mining and oil sector and replace it with renewable energy and strengthen the agricultural sector, which employs many poor agricultural workers.
Petro He said he would buy land if landowners would not pay his proposed higher taxes on unused property. His opponents scream expropriations and equate him with Hugo Chavez from Venezuela.
"He said he wanted to mine coal and oil in three years, which I think is extremely ambitious and unlikely in reality," says Paterson. "I do not think he would be hostile to the economy, he would still seek to promote international private investment in Colombia."
"This notion that he was the & # 39; New Chavez & # 39;
His supporters see the benefits of a left-leaning leader who presents himself as an outsider: "I like Petro for his ideas: defending the environment and offering free higher education," says the 34 year-old political scientist Andrés Ignacio Sánchez, who is currently unemployed.
"He is forever against the institutions and the Sun, they are currently working.