Florida Governor De Santis says the result of the presidential election in Colombia is “disastrous”

Gustavo Petro (Photo: Reuters)

Florida leaders from both political parties expressed concern Monday over the results of the Colombian presidential election.

(YN).- A former member of the M-19 guerrilla group, Gustavo Petro, 62, won the race on Sunday by a small margin to become the first leftist president in the country’s history. His election heralds a new era of changes for a country traditionally ruled by conservatives and moderates.

His past and his sharp criticism of the status quo tend to frighten the wealthy and some in the middle class, who fear he will attempt to uproot the political system of Colombia to replace it with a leftist totalitarian regime as the late Hugo Chávez did in Venezuela.

Others, however, don’t think this is likely, claiming that conditions are so different in the two countries that what Chávez did 20 years ago in Venezuela could not be replicated today in Colombia.

“The results of that election have been very, very troubling for people who believe in freedom in the Western Hemisphere; to elect a former narco-terrorist and a Marxist to lead Colombia is gonna be disastrous,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, said at a press conference near Jacksonville. “We were all hoping that the outcome would be different, but we’ve got a problem in the Western Hemisphere with Marxism, with totalitarianism, really spreading.”

Petro won on Sunday with 50.4% of the vote against his rival, businessman Rodolfo Hernández, who obtained 47.3% of the vote. The election was conducted amid a deep-seated desire for change in the Andean country, which was heavily impacted by the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Florida has the largest population of Colombian Americans in the United States. According to figures of the 2020 U.S. Census, 1.2 million of them live in the state, far surpassing New York’s population of 503,128, and New Jersey’s 238,551.

The United States is also Colombia’s largest trading partner. Bilateral trade between the two countries reached almost $27 billion in 2017. Florida accounts for 27% of all U.S. trade with Colombia, more than any other state.

The Yucatan Times
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