Last week’s election in Colombia saw the best result for the Left in decades and confirmed Gustavo Petro as favorite to become the country’s first socialist president. It’s a major shift in a country that has long been dominated by US-backed right-wing leaders.
by Carlos Cruz Mosquera
Part 3 - A New Colombia?
For many decades, Colombia’s left has envisioned a Nueva Colombia, a Colombia that has finally overcome the surviving colonial legacies and the violent capitalist exploitation of the masses. Pacto Historico, with all its historical importance, cannot yet birth this ideal. What it can do is ready the ground. It is the only hope Colombians have for a peaceful solution to the ongoing conflict. And the coalition itself — made up of communists, socialists, social democrats, liberals, and black and indigenous activists—is a breathing example of the new Colombia.
The liberal democratic ideal on which many pinned their hopes in earlier decades, culminating in the 1991 constitution, has proven fruitless in practice. As this becomes clearer to the population, the state responds with open repression. With the support of powerful foreign allies, Colombia’s ruling class will do all in their power to frustrate a transition.
For the Pacto Historico to achieve power in May, they must gain more ground in the electorate and be ready to contend with the state’s machinery: information war, election fraud, and violent military and paramilitary aggression.
Colombia has a historic chance to end decades of war and oppression peacefully and democratically. It is up to us to mobilize the people — and for the ruling class to accept the inevitability, eventually, of a new Colombia.