On Sunday, the Historic Pact presidential candidate Gustavo Petro won the first presidential round with over 40 percent of the valid votes. However, he will have to dispute a ballot on June 19 with Rodolfo Hernandez, a far-right millionaire who obtained 28 percent of the votes.
Who is Gustavo Petro?
The 62-year-old economist Gustavo Petro studied at the Externado University in Bogota and did postgraduate studies in Development, Population, and Environment at the Catholic University of Louvain.
In the 1980s, he was a member of the M-19 Movement, a guerrilla organization that abandoned the armed struggle after a peace agreement signed in 1990. Petro was part of the founding members of the M-19 Democratic Alliance party, which sponsored him to reach the Constituent Assembly in 1991 and the House of Representatives in 2002, when he became the lawmaker with the highest electoral support in Colombia.
At that time, Petro stood out as one of the greatest opponents of the President Alvaro Uribe, a far-right politician who promoted the Antiterrorist Statute and proposed a constitutional reform in order to be reelected.
In 2005, Petro supported the creation of the Alternative Democratic Pole, a political party that allowed him to reach the Senate a year later. His legislative work provided him with conditions to run for the Presidency in the 2010 elections, in which he came to have the third-highest number of votes.
Petro later left the Alternative Democratic Pole to found his own party, with which he became Mayor of Bogota in 2011. Six years later he launched his presidential candidacy supported by the Colombia Humana movement, with which Petro managed to pass to the second round in 2018 but was defeated by the current president, Ivan Duque.
The tweet reads, "Hitler fanatic, admirer of Uribe, ultra-conservative, and corrupt. Let me introduce you to Rodolfo Hernandez, the candidate who will face the progressive Gustavo Petro in the 2nd round of the presidential elections in Colombia."
Who is Rodolfo Hernandez?
The 77-year-old civil engineer Rodolfo Hernandez is a millionaire businessman who became Mayor of Bucaramanga in 2015 with the support of former President Alvaro Uribe and promising that he would carry out an administration with "Logic, Ethics, and Aesthetics."
Nevertheless, he has been involved in several corruption scandals, which are currently being investigated by the Attorney General's Office and other Colombian authorities.
Paradoxically, he entered the 2022 presidential race after founding a movement called the "League of Anti-Corruption Leaders." The trials against Hernandez were postponed until after the second electoral round, which allowed him to participate in the May 29 elections.
During his public life, Hernandez has been characterized by not hiding his far-right political positions, which has made him the Colombian version of Donald Trump or Jair Bolsonaro.
On several occasions, his hate speeches have targeted women who play soccer, migrants, women aspiring to public office, the poor, protesters, environmental activists, and so on. His prejudices are summarized, for example, in this phrase directed against migrant women:
"They are a factory to make poor children. For God's sake don't make more children, more misfortunes for those people, more poverty. We can't feed more mouths,” Hernandez said, as reported by the newspaper El Tiempo, which made an inventory of his most notable verbal insults, bad words, and physical attacks.
During a radio interview, Hernandez even admitted to being a "follower of a great German thinker named Adolf Hitler." Audiovisual records also testify to his ridicule against indebted citizens thanks to whom he increases his fortune, as he himself said without hesitation.