Colombia Elections 2022: Petro resorts to the figure of Francia Márquez to stop Rodolfo Hernández | Presidential Elections Colombia | The USA Print


Francia Márquez, on the left, and Gustavo Petro, this Tuesday in Bogotá, during Gilberto Murillo's accession to his campaign.
Francia Márquez, on the left, and Gustavo Petro, this Tuesday in Bogotá, during Gilberto Murillo’s accession to his campaign.LUISA GONZALEZ (Reuters)

Until recently, Gustavo Petro understood politics as a solitary exercise. In his time as a congressman he used his arguments to attack corruption or paramilitarism from the podium. As mayor of Bogotá he received criticism from those around him for being reluctant to take advice from others. He has now understood that to be the next president of Colombia he needs the help of the rest, but above all that of Francia Márquez, his number two. Márquez, an Afro woman who paid for her law studies working as a domestic worker, has become a phenomenon that has broken all the schemes of local politics. Against her, who has never held any public office, Rodolfo Hernández will hardly be able to argue that it is a common policy or that it represents the interests of the elites. In addition, she maintains a powerful feminist message with which to attack the former mayor of Bucaramanga, who often makes sexist comments. Petro’s strategists know that there are two men who are vying for the presidency, but that it will be the women who decide who ends up in the House of Nariño.

The leading role of Francia Márquez is going to double in these 20 days that remain until the vote. She feels that in the first round she has not been given all the space that she deserved. She now she will have it. This Tuesday she was told that she will be as relevant or more relevant than Petro. She is confident in her character, boldness and bravery, describe those who are aware. Its importance has been clearly seen in the game of chairs that has taken place in the first public act that Petro has held after the elections, that of Gilberto Murillo joining his campaign, which until now was Sergio Fajardo’s number two, the candidate from the center who has been left out of the presidential race. When Murillo spoke, to the left of him was France, and two places further on, Petro.

The surprising arrival of Hernández in the second round has forced Petro to give a change of direction. He hoped to confront Fico Gutiérrez, continuity and the legacy of Uribe. That lesson is known by heart. However, Hernández is a flamboyant political phenomenon, a rich and foul-mouthed 77-year-old builder who sells himself as the man who will save Colombia from corruption. Petro, now, acts as a politician more related to the establishment and traditional politics, a role that he has not played in his life. From the adoption of a social democratic and serene discourse, the ex-guerrilla wants to attract to himself the moderate voter who does not want to leave his country in the hands of an unknown person like Hernández. Although if you think about it, it is nothing new, only that Colombia had not known how to detect it: Hernández represents the result of the conversation on social networks, as in his day Trump, Bolsonaro or Bukele.

Márquez and Petro, the strategists have devised, must now explain to the sectors of the country that the nation cannot remain in the hands of a populist with authoritarian tics, according to their vision. They want to present the contest as the choice between a moderate leftist – many people do not have that vision of Petro – against an unpredictable man. Emphasis will be placed on his blood personality. Hernández became known in the country a few years ago for punching an opposition councilman, John Claro. Bucaramanga was then surrendered and sided with the aggressor. Claro was forced not to leave the house, he grew a beard and long hair to go unnoticed when some obligation made him step on the street. In the following elections he was not re-elected. The senseless slap he received cost him his political career. Whoever gave it to him is currently competing to be president. Petro sees him as a man who does not have the cold blood to make key decisions.

Headquarters in Bogotá of Rodolfo Hernández, in which lately there are more followers.
Headquarters in Bogotá of Rodolfo Hernández, in which lately there are more followers.LUISA GONZALEZ (Reuters)

The other flank for which they can suffer Hernández is that of corruption. Although his platform is called League of Anti-Corruption Rulers, was the only one of the candidates who is accused of a serious case. During his time as mayor, his son received two million dollars from a company that received a concession. That is proven because the company and the son signed a document before a notary. At the end of July he is called to testify in a trial. And being a businessman who governed his own city, he incurred a conflict of interest, not very well differentiating what was public from what was private. He has also often publicly celebrated that buyers of his homes pay interest for a long time.

The arrival of Márquez to the vice presidency, in case of victory, would have enormous historical significance. “For the women, for the communities of that other Colombia, including black, Afro-descendant, Raizal and palanquera communities,” Murillo said. Also Mabel Lara, a journalist who chose to enter Congress and who has enormous popularity, has joined the campaign with a long letter in which Petro is not mentioned, only Francia Márquez.

From this Wednesday France will launch the attack. The latest published poll shows a two-point lead for Hernandez, who is riding high after his surprising results on Sunday. The idea of ​​the leftist pact is to stop this trend as soon as possible. The left had never had a land with such solid votes, 8.5 million. It represents a growth of 2.7 since the consultation of the primaries. Now start adding figures from the center. Fajardo remains to be decided, whose adherence to Hernández could be a turnaround in his honest and well-meaning political career. Be that as it may, the numbers between Petro and Hernández are very tight, everything may be decided by a handful of votes. Petro wants Francia Márquez, who says bluntly that she would like to be Colombia’s first president, to make a difference.

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