We were both nervous and excited to be in the Colombian capital on the presidential Election Day. Let me break it down for you:
- The progressive candidate was Petro. He campaigned by kissing babies and the elderly, using rainbow fonts and flags, wearing jeans and a button down, and generally appealing to the common man. We saw a pro-Petro rally in the streets and people lining up to hear him speak. The people chanted “Petro, amigo, la gente está contigo”, (translation: Petro, friend, the people are with you!), and “Peeeeeetroooo” in a call and response manner in the streets.
- The conservative candidates were Duque and Lleras. Street art contended that these two candidates were two faces of the same coin, and a continuation of the status quo in Colombia. The current presidency was associated with police corruption, (including a police-run prostitution ring where the prostitutes were also police), murdering homeless people and dressing them up like FARC rebels to meet military quotas, budget skimming, and general exploitation of the people. Duque campaigned by wearing suits, posing with wealthy older people with light skin color, focusing on symbols of strength and power, and talking critically of compromise with the FARC. It was widely believed that electing him would risk the progress made that had ended the civil war.
- Colombia is dry on election day and it was impossible to get alcohol before or during the time that the polls were open. The locals think it’s nuts that we sell alcohol on election day in the US.
The elections went to a second round with the top 2 candidates, Petro and Duque.
We’ll see what that means for Colombia and the peace treaty as time goes on.