Petro, Colombia Moments and the Ineffectual President

Let me get this straight, I was firmly against Mayor Gustavo Petro‘s proposed expulsion from the Alcaldia back when it was tabled in December 2013. When he was ousted in March I was outspoken in my defence of this inept leader of men. I was even fine with the encampments in the Plaza de Bolivar. The mayor’s verbal tirade and suggestions that he was facing a coup d’etat, followed by spurts of populist rhetoric from the balcony grated somewhat, but all of this aside, the mockery, the farce and more wonderfully so, the ineffectual nature of President Santos flip flopping back and forth has brought me to the brink of my latest “Colombia Moment“.

elections in colombia

Voto en Blanco, Bogota

I recently read Chris Allbritton’s excellent “10 Things I Hate about Bogotá” and agreed with them all. But, I can get past most of these reasons. My “Colombia Moment” came on the back of a most phenomenal day. I was invited to give a talk at the Universidad Autonoma on tourism and my experiences in Mompos and my jumbled ideas and stream of anecdotes went down surprisingly well.

universidad autonoma

Just a glimpse at my introduction on the OHP for my talk at the Universidad Autonoma

I just want to say it outright. Reappointing Gustavo Petro is not the solution. Were he a gentleman, rather than a political street fighter, Mr Petro could have accepted this judicial victory with good grace and chosen not to return to the Palacio Lievano. There was the perfect opportunity to show himself as the better man and rebuff ouster Alejandro Ordóñez. We know this is not going to end here.

Bogotá now finds herself further weakened due to this judicial absurdity. The chinless President Santos looks even less in control at home than ever before, and this is the man leading the polls for the presidential elections on May 25! You’d think that the opposition might jump on this to take full political advantage, but, even if they did we wouldn’t hear of it since the press here is in the government’s pocket.


spotted from a taxi today, “Petro se queda”

So, onwards we trundle towards the presidential elections. I feel like I am being gifted an underheated repeat of a meal that I’d sent back to the kitchen two weeks previously. There is no dynamism, no excitement and perhaps worst of all, no debate. Politics here is now officially the culinary equivalent of aspic. It’s repulsive.

Thank you Tara for the advice: “avoid the [Colombia] moment by never going out and pretending you live somewhere else!” This may well be the route I need to take for the rest of the week.







avoid the moment by never going out and pretending you live somewhere else!

About Richard

Anglo-Canadian resident in Colombia. Journalist, Writer, Hotelier, Expedition Guide
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