In the presidential elections in Colombia, the flag that is most disputed is that of change. Gustavo Petro points to his opponent Rodolfo Hernández for secretly represent the most conservative sectors. And he accuses the leftist of wanting lead the nation to communism. Both are anti-establishment figures, both generate fears, and both are tied in the polls. That is why the discredit of the rival has come to the fore in a battle for the emotions of the electorate: Who arouses more fear? A former guerrilla who became a senator or a millionaire with no party or defined ideology?
Alena Martínez leans towards Petro because he has moderated and fostered alliances with prestigious people, in addition to promising not to expropriate or seek re-election. «Rodolfo hardly shows his proposals. I think his campaign wasn’t serious because he didn’t expect to get that far.”, says the woman from Bogota admitting that the leftist still generates fears. Among the inhabitants of the capital, where Petro was mayor, it is remembered how sudden changes in models in the way of administration generated more traumas than solutions.
Jaime Alvarado will vote for Petro. He believes that with him there would be greater governability and a social explosion would be avoided, since he is an experienced politician. “He is not perfect. He worries me that he will make impulsive decisions or that they won’t work. But Rodolfo can be a leap into the void with improvisation».
Carolina Pinto lives in Bucaramanga, Hernández’s land, and supports him. Not so much because she believes in her proposals, but because “it is the option to prevent Petro from arriving because that would bring confrontations and economic problems.” Andrés Chirinos seconded it, convinced that with Rodolfo “the usual political class ends without giving ourselves over to the left.”
Even on Friday, Leonardo Mejías had not decided who to vote for. “I’m seeing which one is the least bad.” 45% of the electorate is abstentionist and it is estimated that at least 2.5 million voters are “undecided” before this second presidential round.
In its government program, Petro proposes to stop the extractivist model by prohibiting “fracking” and the development of offshore deposits, not issuing new licenses for hydrocarbon exploration or allowing large-scale open-pit mining. Likewise, it proposes creating a fund for the energy transition with resources from oil profits and eliminating tax benefits for the hydrocarbon sector.
He wants to promote a policy of tariffs on agricultural goods and supplies to stimulate production, in addition to renegotiating free trade agreements. It proposes promoting a national industry of fertilizers and supplies and an agrarian reform that attacks inequality in property and combats latifundia.
Petro has a “Guaranteed Employment” plan where the State would act as the employer of last resort, offering employment to those who cannot find work in the private sector, with the inclusion of women and promoting youth employment. Her program includes the creation of the Ministry of Equality to eliminate inequalities between men and women. They will have priority access to land ownership, public and free higher education and credit. She has also promised to bring the internet to rural areas.
In fiscal matters, the applicant focuses on large fortunes paying taxes, with dividends being taxed the same as salaries within the framework of a comprehensive tax reform.
In security, Petro will seek to “demilitarize social life”, eliminating compulsory military service and the Esmad riot police. Likewise, he proposes greater training in human rights for officers and moving the National Police from the Ministry of Defense to the Ministry of the Interior. He has promised to honor the peace accords with the FARC and seek an “effective” negotiation with the ELN.
Hernández’s program is 76 pages long, but populist, grandiose and bizarre promises have had a greater preponderance in public discussion, such as guaranteeing free drugs to the country’s addicts so that the internal drug trafficking business is deflated. In its pages there are promises such as reaching a balance in the exploitation of oil that cares for the environment, generates social development, and serves to plan a transition towards the production of other forms of clean energy and better practices in the exploitation of resources. miners.
Hernández proposes turning the country into a world power in medicinal cannabis, handing over land titles to rural occupants and granting credits for the development of the field. He also proposes the industrialization of the countryside with engineering programs and the law for the use of supplies of national origin.
His program says that he will prohibit the importation of products when nationals are sufficient, and that he will seek to bankarize peasant families. Hernández wants to encourage the creation of digital ventures and financially support and advise young entrepreneurs and new entrepreneurs. She promises a decent housing program for “self-construction” of its beneficiaries, and an employment policy in which at least 50% of the positions within the public administration are assigned to women with equal pay.
All this while seeking to implement a general VAT rate of 10% –almost half of the current rate–, turning it into a single consumption tax from which basic products would be excluded. Hernández likes proposals that apply to “everyone.” For example, to pension all older adults with a basic income, even if they do not meet the system’s requirements, or to guarantee that all students who finish high school have a guaranteed place in public universities.
Perhaps the only issue that brings the two candidates closer together is the restoration of diplomatic and consular relations with Venezuela. Currently the embassy in Bogotá is in the hands of the interim government of Juan Guaidó, but in Caracas Nicolás Maduro rules. They also agreed to avoid talking about the immigration problem.