Colombia will hold the first round of presidential elections on May 29, and according to local polls, the top contenders to take power are “Fico” Gutiérrez, from a center-right coalition; and Gustavo Petro, a leftist candidate who is a former member of the terrorist organization M-19 which, among other crimes, carried out a violent takeover of the Colombian Palace of Justice with the intention of overthrowing the constitutional government in 1985.
Despite Petro’s violent past and the professed support given to him by other terrorist organizations (such as the FARC) the leftist candidate has the highest approval rating for the upcoming elections. According to the latest Yanhaas poll, conducted for the local TV channel RCN, the former guerrilla is 40% ahead of his rival, Federico “Fico” Gutiérrez (who has 21%) in voting intentions. This is due, among many other things, to the incendiary discourse with which he has been bombarding Colombian society during the last decades.
Petro is no newcomer. This is his third run for the presidency, and he has already served as mayor of Bogotá and has also held seats in the Colombian House and Senate. According to his talking points, Colombia’s ills are products of the alliances between the country’s elite and the U.S. to bring the “extreme right” to power. His solution for these so-called ills is, of course, to redistribute the nation’s wealth through a strong socialist agenda.
Why would the election of Gustavo Petro put the national security of the United States at risk?
It is no secret that the Colombian government is one of the U.S.’s greatest allies in the fight against global drug trafficking. It is worth mentioning the fact that Colombia is also one of the largest producers of cocaine and has been home to the largest criminal cartels in the world, such as the one led decades ago by Pablo Escobar or the drug cartels that have emerged in recent years.
Petro, who has been a constant critic of the U.S. and its foreign policy, has stated in the past that he would review extradition treaties for drug traffickers. If we add to this the favoring of criminal groups and drug traffickers, such as the FARC, it is easy to deduce that if Gustavo Petro comes to power, not only will he not fight against illegal drug trafficking in the United States but, most likely, he will also ally with these criminal groups and/or turn a blind eye to their activities.
Currently, the United States has one of its biggest antagonists in the figure of Nicolás Maduro. A good part of the criminal groups and drug traffickers that remained in Colombia have moved their operations to Venezuela with the complicity of the regime. From there they manage to continue flooding the United States with drugs, just as the late President Hugo Chavez once established.
The future is not very encouraging if we add a possible government of Gustavo Petro to the antagonism of Maduro in Venezuela, Diaz-Canel in Cuba, Ortega in Nicaragua, Arce in Bolivia, Fernandez in Argentina, Castillo in Peru, and very possibly Lula in Brazil.
During the last decades, the antagonism from a large part of the region toward the policies of the White House has been taken for granted. However, Colombia had been, since the times of former President Álvaro Uribe, the largest regional security partner for the United States, a condition that would undoubtedly be broken with the arrival of Petro to power.
The former guerrilla has already stated that if he were to reach the Casa de Nariño he would re-establish diplomatic relations with Nicolás Maduro. In fact, Diosdado Cabello, number 2 of the Venezuelan regime and on whom there is a 10 million dollar reward from the Department of Justice due to drug trafficking crimes, declared in 2018 that Petro asked them for economic financing for his campaign. If he comes to power, Petro will evidently position himself in favor of the triad of evil represented by Venezuela-Cuba-Nicaragua, becoming a new and heavy headache for Washington.
A new regional crisis?
South America currently has a massive migration of 6 million Venezuelans who have fled the socialist regime of Nicolás Maduro. Approximately 2 million of them are refugees in Colombia. The arrival of Petro to power, an ally of the Maduro regime, in addition to jeopardizing the security of Venezuelans in the said country could, in the medium term, generate a new wave of Colombian refugees if the economic situation, as has occurred in other nations, worsens considerably.
The past year has seen a disproportionate growth in the number of Venezuelans arriving in the United States through the southern border. This is due, in large part, to the relocation of Venezuelan citizens who had previously migrated to countries such as Argentina, Peru, and Chile, but who prefer to move in search of better living conditions, in view of the triumph of extreme left-wing candidates in those nations.
If the two million Venezuelans settled in Colombia are joined by another group of Colombian citizens who consider that the situation will become extremely critical and decide to leave, the number of refugees in the continent will grow disproportionately and the migrating destinations will increasingly reduce: the United States and Spain, to a lesser extent.
The kidnapping of multilateral organizations
If we add to the highly probable cooperation of Gustavo Petro with criminal groups and drug traffickers and the economic implosion of the country and partnership with authoritarian regimes the votes that such regimes total up in organizations like the OAS,
In addition to the alliances with drug trafficking groups, criminals, and authoritarian regimes, and an economic implosion of the country, a potential Petro presidency would also mean that Colombia will ally itself with anti-liberty actors at the OAS. This would result in a United Nations 2.0, which has failed to resolve political disputes globally or investigate crimes against humanity. This new OAS could become a propaganda apparatus to clean up the crimes committed by totalitarian states.
The particular problem with Petro is that, not only would they be adding one more state to the interests of the “anti-imperialist” left, but they would be incorporating into their group the largest cocaine producer in the hemisphere, and also the largest partner the United States had counted on to enforce its foreign policy in the southern part of the continent.