Tuesday (May 31st): Gustavo Petro to face run-offs in June

Name? Gustavo Petro

Westphalian identity? Colombian

Age? 62

Why is he in the news? Colombia just held their first round of elections yesterday, and populist left-wing candidate Gustavo Petro led with 40% of the vote. Colombians can expect a run-off election in the coming weeks between Petro and runner-up Rodolfo Hernández, a centre-right candidate. There was unprecedented support for the left, as Colombia recovers from the pandemic. 

Why do we care? Petro is a long-time politician in Colombia, and he was previously involved in the guerrilla group, M-19 until a deal in 1989. Since then, Petro dedicated his political career as a representative, senator, then mayor of Bogotá to combat the right-wing governments of Colombia. His presidency would mean the first left-wing government in Colombia and represents a retribution against the political establishment by the population. 

Why should you care? Colombia has oil; and the current government, led by Duque, wants to export more of it. As the war in Ukraine trudges on, oil exporters in Latin America want to reap the benefits of an upset market and high oil prices. In these run-offs, both candidates are against increased fracking for oil exportation. Petro in particular seeks to stop the 150 oil explorations in Colombia, which could put a dent on their exports and exacerbate increasing oil prices worldwide. You should care 5/10.

Who else cares? Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro could find his first Colombian support in Petro. Previous presidents in Colombia have had an extremely strained relationship with the Maduro regime and even called for the ICJ to investigate crimes against humanity in Venezuela. Gustavo Petro would flip traditional Colombian foreign policy and resume diplomatic relations with Venezuela, and possibly further relations with other leftist governments in the region with AMLO in Mexico and Boric in Chile. 

Any further comments? The opposing candidate Rodolfo Hernández made headway in these elections through a TikTok campaign, and yes, we procured proof for you

Francia Morales

Editor in Chief for Research and Analysis