First in Colombia it was an earthquake, but not a historical change, says analyst

First in Colombia it was an earthquake, but not a historical change, says analyst

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA (FOLHAPRESS) – For Juan Gabriel Tot aliantlian, the turn of the presidential election in Colombia, marked by the defeat of traditional political forces, represented an important first step, but not a historic change.

According to the sociologist, who lived in the country for 18 years, a local elite that ruled for decades must reorganize itself to try to return to power after the final round of elections, next Sunday (19).

The main polls indicate that the leftist Gustavo Petro and the populist Rodolfo Hernández are in a technical tie within the margin of error, with a numerical advantage for the second.

QUESTION – Does this election represent a historic change?

JUAN GABRIEL TOKATLIAN – We have to wait for the next election to find out if the change is real and structural. The Colombian elite knew how to govern with violence, inequality, cooptation and always had the full support of the US – against the cartels, against the guerrillas. It seems to me hasty to talk about historical change. We are seeing an earthquake in Colombian structures, but we are facing the elite that knew how to govern better, compared to other Latin American countries. Is better wait.

Q. – What characteristics does this earthquake have?

JT – The key to understanding the election is a strong feeling against the establishment. It is a fact present in the vote for Petro and Hernández, albeit for different reasons. Major parties a harsh definition. That’s the strongest.

Q. – Does this follow a worldwide trend?

JT – Yes, it’s a period thing. In the French election, traditional leaders displaced. There is something that makes anti-establishment sentiment tend to win. Another element is the pandemic, which has brought a feeling against those in power. A re-election or a president who makes or successor is less likely. [Iván] Duke supported Fico [Gutiérrez] and made him go deeper in the research. Covid has created a phenomenon marked by malaise. The Americas do not exceed 12% of the world’s population, but they had 43% of the dead, it’s a disaster.

Q. – How do you envision the beginning of a Petro or Hernández government?

JT – Petro is better prepared, he has a team, benches in Congress. But [opositores] will make your life hell, not just in terms of personal safety. Imagine a lot of campaigning against him from day one. As for Hernández, I believe they will give a 100-day truce — and then they will also make his life impossible.

Q. – Research shows a certain deceleration of Hernández. What is this due to?

JT – In the first round, not much was demanded of him, he avoided the debates and grew up due to the strategy on social networks. In the second round, although there were no debates, he was more exposed. And a lot of people started to ask themselves: “Why are we voting for this one?”. It’s the kind of candidate that it’s better to know less than more. He may be reaching his roof — which doesn’t mean he can’t win an election.

Q. – Mr. gives much credit to the campaign.

JT – It was very well designed for a character like him. Sentences and short messages are more difficult to deconstruct; not having to have a debate so that one does not get into controversial issues that could complicate matters. She’s a character who once said opposite things than what she says today. In the first round she released female empowerment, now she released sexist phrases [“O ideal seria que as mulheres se dedicassem à criação dos filhos em casa” e “as pessoas não gostam de mulheres metidas no governo”]. The campaign also made him speak with ease about difficulties, such as “I am in favor of peace” or “I want to improve relations with Venezuela”, without presenting a program to do so.

Q. – Does the question of governability also matter?

JT – For one of the most enlightened and conservative elected easy to be chosen Hernández, but now it’s harder than in Congress [seu partido terá apenas dois parlamentares], their polls for the struggle effort. In this way, we can speculate that he must want to govern by decree, decide unilaterally.

Q. – Approx. from the articulation center of Hernán?

JT – The emptying, yes, because those votes seem to have flown to him. It is the product of a new form of politics, which emphasizes the individual. There was a common vote, by emotion, in a common gentleman of 777777777 years, a lap built by the work of the National Liberation Army, looks like a missing son, built by the work of the National Liberation Army.

Few, the sectors that decide are people who feel alone, for this type of country that they are needed and who think they are, now, feel alone, for this type of country that is needed and who think they are, now, feel alone. Petro cannot do the same, he cannot reinforce characteristics of his trajectory because he was a guerrilla. On the contrary, he has to show that he has moderated.


Juan Gabriel Tokatlian, 68 Born in Buenos Aires, is a sociologist specializing in international relations at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University (USA). Vice-rector of the Department of Political Science and International Studies at the Di Tella University (Argentina), he lived in Colombia for 18 years and was a professor at the Universidad Nacional and the Universidad de los Andes.

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