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Today, Colombia votes on a shift to the Left

Colombia heads to the polls today to reject the far-right politics of Iván Duque and Álvaro Uribe and assert that the average Colombian is much more progressive than the traditional politicians who represent them.
 
by  Luciana Cadahia / Tamara Ospina Posse 
 
Part 1
 
Ask anyone in Latin America and they’ll tell you: Colombian politics skew hard toward the right. Indeed, after nearly twenty years of conservative administrations and with a long track record as a willing outpost for American imperialism, Colombia has a reputation as a right-wing country — and it seems well earned.

Driving home the point, Colombia’s “strategic non-NATO ally” status was recently fast-tracked by the Biden administration, making it the only country in the region considered worthy to play a role in the US global security apparatus. A steadfast commitment to the Washington Consensus and US militarism has for years defined the country’s international agenda, even as it has compromised Colombia’s territorial integrity and that of Latin America in general. 

Colombia’s hard-right turn is associated with one name in particular: former president Álvaro Uribe and his political movement, uribismo. More than just a domestic tendency, the far-right ideology that bears his name has aggressively pursued the spread of neoliberal economics and paramilitarism throughout the region. Implicated in the recent assassination of Haitian president Jovenel Moïse and accused of conspiring against popularly elected governments, the Colombian paramilitary complex associated with Uribe spreads well beyond Colombia’s borders — and still enjoys a degree of popular support at home.

And yet Colombia’s corrupt and servile political oligarchy stands in stark contrast to the courage of the Colombian people themselves. The last year and a half, from the 2021 social uprising to the current campaign of Gustavo Petro, is proof Colombians are not the conservatives their right-wing government would suggest.

In fact, if Petro’s lead in the polls for today’s election is indicative of anything, it is that there is a groundswell from below pushing Colombian national politics in a decidedly progressive direction.

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