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The first-round elections in Colombia sounded again the alarms in the region, everybody expected that the leftist ex-guerrilla, Gustavo Petro, would come in the first place, but what nobody predicted was that the candidate of the Democratic Center, Federico Gutiérrez, would be left out of the race at the hands of Rodolfo Hernández, a controversial character with no known ideological connotations, famous more for his scandals than for his merits.
About Hernandez—who will probably end up becoming the next president of Colombia, since all the votes of the right will go to him, in an attempt to prevent Petro from coming to power—few positive things can be said. A couple of years ago he cited Hitler in an interview as an example, and before announcing his candidacy he had said that he would vote for his current opponent, Gustavo Petro, for president in a potential run-off election.
In addition to the enigma of the controversial Hernandez in Colombia, there is the possible victory in October of the leftist Lula da Silva in Brazil, to whom all polls show a large majority over the current president Jair Bolsonaro.
If this happens, Lula and Hernandez will end up staining red a continent that decidedly despises individual freedoms and turns completely to different types of socialism and authoritarianism, with leaders who constantly resort to anti-imperialist epics in their discourse, which should undoubtedly worry Washington, which is increasingly being displaced by China in its influence over Latin America.
Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Bolivia, already have mostly far-left governments, and several of them consolidated into dictatorial regimes; to these could be added Colombia and Brazil, in the absence of understanding what would be the national and international positions of Hernandez, if he were to defeat Petro in the coffee-growing country.
In addition to this “anti-imperialist” sentiment for ideological reasons, the governments of Guatemala and El Salvador (located between the center and the right of the ideological spectrum) have denounced the Biden administration for allegedly seeking to overthrow them.
If this trend continues, there is no doubt that China will soon become the world’s leading power, not only economically, but also in terms of political influence. The question is, what will Washington do to prevent this? And does Biden really have the ability and willingness to stop this trend?
Today, the return of the Republicans to power seems more urgent than ever.
Emmanuel Rincón is a lawyer, writer, novelist and essayist. He has won several international literary awards. He is Editor-at-large at El American // Emmanuel Rincón es abogado, escritor, novelista y ensayista. Ganador de diversos premios literarios internacionales. Es editor-at-large en El American