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Candidate Gustavo Petro threatened with death, Colombia sees its old demons reappear

The devil comes out of his box. Besides, has he ever been locked up? In Colombia, Gustavo Petro, candidate of the left coalition and favorite of the presidential election of May 29, had to resolve, on May 2, to cancel his campaign in the region of Eje Cafetero, the coffee triangle. We have to believe that the undeniable dynamic in which he is engaged is starting to give cold sweats on the other side of the chessboard, where one of the toughest and most reactionary right wing movements in South America is moving. This is evidenced by the death threats received by Gustavo Petro and his running mate Francia Marquez for several weeks. This time it’s from La Cordillera, a group of former far-right paramilitaries steeped in drug trafficking and political assassinations, that the peril comes. The senator’s office was tipped off by the police that an attack was being planned. “The fact that groups linked to corruption are ready to pay bands of hired killers for my physical elimination demonstrates the political desperation they have reached,” reacted the candidate.

The group in question is accused of murdering student leader Lucas Villa during protests against the government last year. Today’s threats against Gustavo Petro are part of a long history of assassinations of presidential candidates. “I know perfectly well that I can be assassinated as soon as I openly engage in politics. I assume the risk”, said Carlos Pizarro, former leader of the M-19 guerrillas who returned to civilian life after a peace agreement, before being coldly shot in 1990. The same year, the communist senator Bernardo Jaramillo Ossa met the same fate. Their murder was preceded by that of the former Minister of Education, Luis Carlos Galan. Today, some no longer rule out a coup d’etat before the election in order to prevent those who carry popular aspirations from coming to power. It is high time to definitively lock the devil in his box.