(CNN Spanish) – At first glance, it might not seem that Gustavo Petro and Rodolfo Hernandez, who will run in the second round of Colombia’s presidential election, differ so much. And when it comes to their personal trajectories and political discourse, they have major differences. However, his victory in Sunday’s election exposes their similarities.
Petro, who received 40.32% of the vote, and Hernandez who received 28.15%, are two candidates who broke away from the political establishment that Uribismo had dominated for years, and the followers of former President Alvaro Uribe were also appointed. (Alongside right-wing candidate “Fico” Gutierrez and centrist Sergio Fajarado, Uribe and President Evan Duque could consider themselves defeated on the campaign trail: See the winners and losers here).
In this sense, the victory of both fits the continental panorama. Analyst Daniel Zovato explains in this regard that in the last 13 presidential elections in Latin America (2019-2022), “except in the case of Nicaragua – which was an electoral farce – in all 12 elections, the party that was in government lost. In other words, there is a demand Too big for change and rotation.” This represents both.
Two models of populism.
For Zovato, Pietro and Hernandez represent “two models of populism”.
“Colombia is going to a second round between two models of populism or between two populist propositions: one from the left and the other, I say somewhat from the right, although it is very difficult to say where this character is, Rodolfo Hernandez, said about it.
Contact points in their proposals: Venezuela, the National Liberation Army, hydraulic fracturing and more
There are some points of agreement in their political programmes.
Both agree with restoring relations with Venezuela, although they have put forward different proposals for dealing with the migration crisis in the neighboring country.
In its vision to protect the environment, Petro has confirmed its desire to ban hydraulic fracturing or hydraulic fracturing. Although Hernandez’s position didn’t seem clear from the start, he recently stated who opposed this practice.
He also spoke in favor of “the right to an abortion under prescribed conditions,” a right that the historic Petro-led pact was committed to honoring based on the Constitutional Court ruling.
Both candidates support dialogue with the National Liberation Army.
But after these focal points, deep differences can begin to emerge.
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Petro’s position on the political spectrum leaves no room for doubt: he defines himself as a “progressive” leftist leader and, in fact, if he wins, he will become the first left-wing president of a very right-wing and traditionalist country.
Hernandez’s situation does not appear to be that simple as he does not define himself as left or right. However, his inclinations have always been seen as right-wing, CNN correspondent Fernando Ramos explains here. “Fico” Gutierrez, a right-wing candidate who did not make it to the second round, soon announced his support for Hernandez for the definition.
Very different paths
This is the third attempt by Petro, 62, for the presidency of Colombia. The most recent was in 2018, when he lost in the second round against the current president, Evan Duque.
Political activity has transcended his life: he was a personal person and adviser to Zipaquirá, a representative in the Chamber, attache to the Colombian embassy in Belgium, mayor of Bogota, and two terms senator of Colombia. He also bears the burden of being part of the M-19 guerrilla war that led to one of the worst tragedies in the country’s history, the takeover of the Palace of Justice (although he was not directly involved).
The path of Hernandez, 77 and a newcomer to the presidential battlefield, could not be more different.
Hernandez made his fortune after entering the affordable housing business in the 1990s, when the country was going through a construction crisis. There was a plan in which families could buy a house in 100 monthly installments they would pay directly to him, who was acting as builder and banker at the same time.
He was a councilor for the municipality of Bidquista, in Santander, in 1992, but he has not attended or taken up his position as a lobbyist.
Years later, in 2016, he became mayor of Bucaramanga and resigned before ending his term.
Disagreements at the head of the mayor’s offices
Saving enormous distances, in his course there is a constant: controversy during his tenures at the head of the mayor’s offices. In fact, Hernandez was formally accused of alleged irregularities in a consulting contract on waste management techniques at the El Carrasco landfill, in Bucaramanga, when he was mayor. He has pleaded not guilty.
In 2019, claiming that he had been politically persecuted and when the Public Prosecutor’s Office punished him for his improper participation in politics, he resigned as mayor of Bucaramanga.
For his part, Pietro was expelled from the office of the mayor of Bogotá, to which he had arrived in 2011, after a disciplinary investigation for dealing with a crisis related to the garbage collection system. However, the story ended on a completely different turn for him: he won an international legal victory before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which ordered him back as mayor of Bogota in 2014, and allowed him to disembark himself as a left-wing leader. It was built even today according to analysts.
Petro and Hernandez’s priorities
Petro is methodical when speaking. Stop. It’s my theory. On the other hand, Hernandez tends to express himself in a very colloquial and often vulgar way. The differences in his way of presenting himself to an audience are as noticeable as those in the focus of his speech.
The backbone of Hernandez’s speech can be summed up in this sentence: “I identify myself as Rodolfo Hernandez, the engineer who wants to get the thieves out of the government. That’s it.”
Fighting corruption was his motto and motto, and to achieve this he proposed, among other things, “No Lying, not betraying the voters, and achieving a slight amendment to the Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure to remove impunity.”
Two examples: tax reforms and the vision of the poor
As for the historical charter, the current tax system has a “clear bias in favor of the hyper-rich”. Petro proposes a tax reform focusing, among other aspects, on dividends: they will be obligatory to declare them and they will always have to pay taxes. The candidate said the higher tax burden would go “on the 4,000 largest fortunes in Colombia”.
Hernandez proposes one major proof of Qatar’s tax regulation: a reduction in value-added tax.
The idea is to “make VAT payment feasible so that taxpayers do not have mechanisms to evade their obligation to the nation.” He explained, “We propose to apply a general value-added tax rate of 10%, which is approximately half the current rate, which keeps the family basket exempt from tax and reclassifies other excluded goods and services.”
One of the recent controversies involving Hernandez, in which Petro quickly intervened, is related to the vision of the poor in the country.
“We need business people to understand that the best job in the world is to have poor people who have the power to consume, because the poor consume all the money,” Hernandez said in January. Broadcast social media.
Petro replied, “It’s not about the poor being able to buy something from the business, it’s about stopping being poor.”
Petro and Hernandez both have women as racing partners. However, his role was completely different so far.
Francia Marquez, of the Historic Pact, secured a historic vote in the March internal elections and positioned himself as the leader of the left. He played a central role in the campaign.
Marilyn Castillo, on the other hand, is little known in Colombian politics. It was only three months ago that her name began to waver timidly after he was chosen as the running mate for Hernandez. She has described herself as “totally weird”.
With information from Melissa Velasquez, German Badinger, Fernando Ramos, Paula Bravo and Sebastian Jimenez
Meet the candidates: