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Tags: colombia | gustavo petro | socialist | concern

Election of Petro in Colombia Alarms Investors, Hispanic Americans

Gustavo Petro
Newly elected Colombian President Gustavo Petro. (Juan Barreto/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 21 June 2022 04:40 PM EDT

The victory of socialist Gustavo Petro in Colombia's presidential election Sunday made him the first self-described leftist elected in the country's history — and is spooking investors and South American ex-patriots alike.

Among many of the 1.2 million Colombian Americans, and those that represent them, the sense of dread before Petro's election has been amplified.

Democrats and Republicans in South Florida, the region with the highest number of Colombian Americans, have expressed reservations about Petro's victory.

"I am concerned that the newly elected leader, Gustavo Petro, has in the past aligned himself with the policies of [Fidel] Castro, Hugo Chávez and [Nicolas] Maduro, which have brought so much pain and suffering," Florida Democratic Party chairman Manny Diaz said.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, similarly warned that Petro's win is "going to be disastrous" for Colombia.

Colombia's election was held amid rising crime, drastic increases in poverty, corruption and after violent riots that shook the country in May 2021. Colombia's far-left shift to Petro, a candidate who was a member of the militant communist M-19, or 19th of April Movement, in the 1980s, mirrors the shifts of Peru and Chile, where respective Presidents Pedro Castillo and Gabriel Boric were elected after a wave of social discontent, particularly at the economic status quo.

In the past, Petro has raised concerns with what some in the country's military establishment have called his lax policy pronouncements toward illicit cocaine production and trafficking by the drug cartels, his plans for a "social pardon" for prisoners convicted of corruption, as well as questions over his commitment to the independence of the country's central bank.

Petro's affiliation with M-19 and his relationship to Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez also have raised eyebrows.

For Fabio Andrade, managing director of the FAAC Group – an industrial consultation conglomerate based in Florida – the election of Gustavo Petro is a "devastating blow to democracy."

"Petro will not be a friend to America, and I see him working with the enemies of the U.S., like China and Russia and relations with the U.S. will sour," he said. "Petro does not respect the rule of law and does not respect institutions.

"In the next few months, we will see prominent wealthy families and military families leave Colombia and move to America, especially to Florida," he added, suggesting a destabilizing effect. "In the future, I see Colombia headed to a socialist government. Copy and paste of Cuba and Venezuela, and the future of democracy there is 50-50."

Florida Republican congressional candidate Anna Paulina Luna, seeking the nomination in the state's 13th Congressional District near Tampa, told Newsmax that the effects of Petro's win will be felt far and wide.

"We are seeing a major push toward socialism, it is very scary. In South America, we saw what happened in Venezuela," referring to the country's turn from one of the most prosperous nations in Latin America to one of the poorest following the ascension of Chávez and Maduro to power in the 1990s.

Echoing Andrade, Luna predicts Petro's election will cause "an influx in refugees from Colombia, and we will see Hispanics coming to America who experience communism, who will support more of the Republican platform. We are going to see a massive Hispanic shift."

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

The victory of socialist Gustavo Petro in Colombia's presidential election Sunday made him the first self-described leftist elected in the country's history - and is spooking investors and South American ex-patriots alike.
colombia, gustavo petro, socialist, concern
Tuesday, 21 June 2022 04:40 PM
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