Colombia and Latin America’s quickening political pulse


Is the Colombian election result a continuation of something quintessentially Latin American?

A quickening pulse perhaps?

To pick Gustavo Petro as its president is a bold and decisive move by Latin America’s third most populous nation, the US’s closest ally in the region. After all, Mr Petro is controversial. He’s a former guerrilla (albeit, one who has been a congressman and thus part of the establishment for many years) and spouts ideas that signal radical change of the leftie sort. These include plans to tax big landowners, revive ties with socialist Venezuela and phase out oil and coal as an eco-friendly measure.

As economics is the handmaiden of politics, it’s clear that the changing Colombian political model will prompt change in its economic one. This, in turn, will affect Bogota’s relationship with Washington.

All the indicators have been moving towards change in Latin America. In the past year, Peru and Chile have voted in anti-establishment leaders.

But the biggest test lies ahead. In October, Brazil, the region’s largest economy, will get the chance to choose between incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the leftist former president.