By Colombia Team
On June 19, 2022, for the first time in its contemporary history, Colombia makes a government shift to the political left, giving way to the "Government of the People, the Government of the No ones, the Government of Life", in the words of the President and Vice President-elect.
In the second presidential election following the signing of the Peace Accord in 2016, Colombians have gone to the polls three times this year to elect political representatives. On all occasions, the leftist coalition received the most votes and the new government will take office on August 7.
The results of the Presidential Elections’ runoff in Colombia gave a narrow victory (700,601 votes difference) to the candidate for the coalition Pacto Histórico, Gustavo Petro and his vice-president Francia Márquez Mina, the first Black woman to assume this position.
A Different Government
Beyond the political, democratic, and electoral race, the Pacto Histórico, Gustavo Petro and Francia Márquez take on the serious responsibility of not forgetting that they were elected on the platform of peace, collective, community, and ancestral rights, and social processes of the Indigenous, Black, Peasant, urban poor, women, LGBT+, and young people. This new leadership was elected with the mandate to be "the Sum of Many Resistances that want a Government of Life".
However, the hope of achieving the socioeconomic and political structural changes that will allow the achievement of a peaceful country without inequalities will be a long road. Not only because of the complexity of Colombia's internal problems but also because of the intervention of major foreign interests, dating back to Spanish colonization and the rise of U.S. imperialism that persist to this day.
Politics of Love - Peace, Social Justice, and Environmental Justice
The Peace Accords signed in 2016 represented hope. Hope for a peaceful end to 52 years of armed conflict reduction in the rural-urban divide, the elimination of poverty and social injustices, and the implementation of transformative measures necessary to achieve a lasting and stable peace.
The Kroc Institute Report, which monitors the implementation of the Peace Accord, concluded that little progress has been made in the last 5 years since the signing, particularly on points 1 and 4 related to agrarian reform and illicit crop substitution. Non-compliance with the Accords has resulted in an intensification of mass violence and the proliferation of illegal armed actors. The reconfiguration of armed actors and the persistence and expansion of paramilitarism, has created extremely violent conditions for the population, especially in rural areas. The government's knee-jerk response of more militarization in the form of greater troop deployments, checkpoints and patrols with billions in financing from the U.S, has only made things worse.
In 2019 and 2020, people from across all major Colombian cities protested against the widely unpopular economic measures and tax reforms proposed by the outgoing government. The massive and unified rejection of these measures across social sectors was met with deadly State and parastate repression. In 2021, Colombia was recorded as the second most unequal in Latin America and the third most unequal of the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The majority of Colombian society has shown at the ballot box that aggressive and cruel policies do not have a place, and substantial political change is desperately needed. In his first speech as president-elect, Gustavo Petro said that it is time to put into practice the Policy of Love, not hate, and that to achieve this with consensus, a National Agreement is needed. He added that fundamental rights can no longer be meaningless words in the Constitution and that his mandate is to achieve Peace, Social Justice, and Environmental Justice.
Mother Earth - Environment
In a country like Colombia with immense natural wealth and biodiversity, extractivist policies have caused irreparable environmental damage. These mega-projects deteriorate and exacerbate climate change. The care of "Mother Earth" is a fundamental demand of the Colombian people directed toward their future government. The president-elect has called for dialogue and understanding with the United States given that it is the largest emitter of CO2, and with Latin America to discuss the steps towards energy transition and a decarbonized economy in a more decidedly integrated manner.