With the election of Gustavo Petro, Colombia has just broken with some of its most ingrained customs. Most importantly, for the first time in its republican history, my country will have a left-wing government. The closest thing is from the 1940s, when Alfonso López Pumarejo’s second term ended; But later, with the guerrillas appearing in the countryside under the ideological umbrella of the Cuban Revolution, everything became distorted because the war – terrorism, kidnappings, millions of displaced people – made it impossible to speak normally of democracy for six decades left. . Another precedent that these elections shattered was the abstention of the Colombians, whose extremely high numbers always made us fear a breach between democracy and the people. Never before had so many voted in Colombia and never, more importantly, has a president been elected with so many votes. That’s a good thing, of course, but everything has a downside in current politics: because the enormous influx of voters in these elections was also due to the impression of an impending catastrophe that permeated the environment in recent weeks. The two extremes sold the notion that victory to the contrary would spell hopeless collapse for the country. And that’s not so good.
Well, that’s the civic climate that Petro will find from now until he takes over the presidency next August 7th. Colombia today is a deadly divided country, confronted in an irreconcilable manner and enormously tense, and part of these confrontations and these divisions have been caused by it, which for many years has toyed with polarization and sectarianism, rightly earning a reputation for intransigence and authoritarianism . And on this campaign in particular, Petro looked the other way (and it should say it with affection) while his most dishonest minions waged a really dirty war against their political rivals. Well, now the president-elect has the excruciatingly difficult task of healing wounds, bringing the temperature down for the moment, plugging the cracks that years of tensions have opened among citizens; he must convince the Colombians – and quickly: for me it is a matter of days – that he is capable of governing for everyone, not just those who voted for him, and that he is capable , to listen and to understand and even reassure those who fear them, although sometimes they fear him because he too has been a victim of years of black propaganda. From here to his estate, Petro has a task he’s never been good at: reconciliation.
For the good of all, and despite the fact that I’ve always criticized him, I hope he succeeds. Well, in your movement there are very valuable people and a real government program dedicated to implementing the peace accords and building a political country more like the real country. I hope he succeeds, as I said in a previous column, because the failure of the next government would be the failure of everyone, not just those who elected him. The good news is that the Petro who won the elections is not the same one who won the first round: in these weeks, moderate figures have joined his party, coming from different political directions, arousing the respect of many and of us make you think of something like that We Colombians have never learned how to do it: negotiate. I fear the success of his government will depend on this: on his willingness to back down, to surround himself with those who think differently, to listen to and sometimes agree with others. It sounds easy, but sometimes it seems like we haven’t done it in centuries.
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