(CNN Spanish) – Colombian presidential candidate Gustavo Petro, who received more than 40% of the vote in the first round, has spoken numerous times about “social amnesty,” an amnesty proposal that has sparked controversy and surprises, and his attempts to explain it have been criticized. to their opponents. The issue became relevant during the presidential campaign when it was revealed that Petro’s brother had met with politicians convicted of corruption in prison and the candidate referred to the concept again.
But what exactly is this “social amnesty” proposed by the left-wing candidate for the Colombian presidency, and why is it already so controversial?
Before the Colombian Senate, in August 2021, Petro explained His suggestion comes from the concept of tolerance put forward by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida (1930-2004).
What does “social tolerance” consist of?
“(Derrida) says that in some historical epoch, all too often, a society can have an imaginative, creative, and virtuous act of great social forgiveness for its members,” He said Pietro added that this act has the same “generation of social creation” as revolutions.
“Can we believe that it is possible that Colombia, after two centuries of perpetual wars, has reached a moment of general social tolerance? I think so,” he added.
Who is affected by this wide forgiveness? Petro believes that the perpetrators “regardless of whether they have committed political crimes that warrant amnesty or amnesty or have committed crimes against humanity,” adding that the exact name of this amnesty, whether it is an amnesty or not, will depend on the laws.
What are the conditions?
He told him, “Social tolerance is an expression of a society looking for reconciliation. It has a drive: ending the conflict in Colombia. So prison is not the key piece, (it is) the human heart.” Petro, the former mayor of Bogotá and now a candidate for the historic charter, to Fernando Ramos on CNN in May.
“If we are able to forgive a series of events that we say are unforgivable in modern Colombian history, we will be able to reconcile them.”
But in order to grant this social tolerance “which is not divine, it is human,” Pietro noted, there must be certain “historical conditions,” based on a prior process of “truth and reparation to victims, through specific mechanisms.” .
On this matter, Petro already have indicated In August 2021 that “before an amnesty is issued all property must be returned to the dispossessed and the whole truth.”
The controversial visit
At the beginning of April, Colombian media revealed that the brother of candidate Juan Fernando Petro had visited former senator Ivan Moreno, convicted of corruption, in the Greater Bogota prison and the prison complex “La Pecota”.
The revelation caused controversy in Colombia and Petro Certain that his brother was not part of his campaign and that the meeting took place independently. I haven’t sent anyone to speak with Ivan Moreno. They are the prisoners who asked to speak to the Ecclesiastical Commission for Justice and Peace. “It didn’t even cross my mind,” he said on his Twitter account. Twitter.
On April 11, referring to the visit In an interview with Radio WPietro again mentioned the concept of social tolerance, noting that Ivan Moreno “suggested that we be constructive is something I suggested in the name of ‘social tolerance’, and that is what is being discussed in prisons”.
Moreno was sentenced in 2015 to 14 years in prison for his involvement in the “circular recruitment” corruption scandal, according to the Effie news agency. Meanwhile, his brother Samuel Moreno, the former mayor of Bogotá, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for taking bribes into a local health network contract for 67,000 million pesos (about $22 million), within the same process.
The “social tolerance” proposal sparked criticism of Petro, especially from his rivals in the upcoming elections, and after learning of the meeting between Petro’s brother and Moreno. In a recent survey by Yanhas, 78% of those interviewed said they were against “social amnesty for those convicted of corruption and drug smuggling.”
The survey uses a sample of 1,232 people, from April 30 to May 7, with a margin of error of 3.2% and a confidence level of 95%.
Your ex-partners and political superiors (who are in prison today x are corrupt [sic]), they have an agreement with you that you yourself gave as evidence to give them such a “social pardon” in exchange for voting. “The country already knows that,” he said. Your Twitter account Federico Gutierrez, candidate for the presidency of Colombia on behalf of the Iquibo Port Colombia coalition.
“Social Tolerance? Zero Tolerance for Those Who Seek Corruption”, He said Sergio Fajardo, who will also compete in the May 29 elections for the Centro Esperanza alliance.
But Pietro says to raise the debate from the field of social reconciliation and not from government action. “Social tolerance has nothing to do with what is legal, it stems from society,” he told Fernando Ramos. “It has nothing to do with the government, which creates laws such as amnesty or commutation of sentences,” he added.
In mid-April, Petro denied that he was using “social tolerance” for political gain, He assured that he will go to court to defend himselfAnd he gave more details about his project from his Twitter account.
“Does social tolerance mean that the corrupt get out of prison or their punishment reduced? Not at all. On the contrary. Social tolerance means that all corrupt people go to prison without exception and pay their punishment. Corruption is the breaking of forgiveness.” He said.
“Social forgiveness is not granted by the president, but by society, and I believe that in exchange for truth and reparation, the greatest beneficiaries of this pardon will be those who [el expresidente Álvaro] Uribe Velez and his friends and thousands of soldiers of all ranks” tweet.
Old idea from Petro
But far from these controversies, Pietro has been working on the idea of ”social tolerance” for a long time.
In his article “Forgiveness is Solidarity”, which was included in 2002 in the book “Political Culture and Tolerance”, published by the Universidad del Rosario, the former mayor of Bogotá argues that “in a country, unfortunately, the unforgivable is already part of that everyday life, It comes to my mind that every day, in every moment, we must have daily forgiveness that undoes the unforgivable.”
He adds: “The minimum amnesty corresponds to the minimum compact of solidarity to build a nation without exceptions which we can finally call, categorically, a democracy.”
With information from Fernando Ramos of CNN