Six caravans toured Miami this past Sunday before converging in an event to ask Colombians to vote massively in the presidential elections in order to prevent their country from becoming another Cuba, Nicaragua, or Venezuela, organizers informed Wednesday.
The Day for Democracy in Colombia has the support of leaders of Cuban, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan exiles who in a press conference stated that “if Colombia falls it will be a blow for the whole hemisphere,” as Orlando Gutiérrez, of the Assembly of Cuban Resistance, said.
Jaime Florez, of Colombian origin and director of communications for Hispanic media of the Republican National Committee, spoke in a personal capacity at the event held significantly at the Casa del Preso, headquarters of the Cuban Historical Political Prison in Miami.
Florez hoped that the people of Colombia will make “wise decisions” in the upcoming presidential elections, the first round of which will be held on May 29, and that there will never be institutions of Colombian exiles like this one dedicated to Cuban political prisoners.
Colombian-born businessman Fabio Andrade, another of the speakers, reminded Colombians in Miami that from May 23 to 29 they can vote at the Colombian Consulate General, where 110,000 voters are registered, and said he was sure that at least 100,000 “will vote well.”
Andrade told EFE that his great fear is that there will be “fraud” in these elections, because “the institutions are taken over, all the drug money is against Colombia’s democracy and law and order.”
According to Andrade, 7% of the votes cast in the March 13 legislative elections were “fraudulent,” which is why, he stressed, it is so important that the voting and counting be “transparent.”
Without mentioning Gustavo Petro, the candidate of a leftist coalition who, according to polls, is most likely to win the elections, the speakers expressed support for former Medellín mayor Federico “Fico” Gutiérrez, who is second in voting intentions in the polls.
According to them, it is important to vote en masse for “Fico” in the first round, not to wait for the second round.
Muñeca Fuentes, president of the Nicaraguan American Republican Alliance, denounced that it is not a political ideology that has “taken over” countries such as Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela but transnational criminal organizations and warned of the “danger to the security of the United States and the hemisphere” if Colombia falls into the same hands.
Cuban exile leader Silvia Iriondo agreed, and asked Colombians not to think that “what happened in Cuba cannot happen in their country” and, above all, “not to stand idly by.”
Former Cuban politician Jorge Luis García Pérez “Antúnez” spoke along the same lines and asked the people of Colombia not to vote for the candidate of “an ideology that organized and financed the narco-guerrillas in their country.”
“Antunez” called to defend democracy in Colombia and warned that “when the left comes to power, it is difficult to remove it.”