Challenges facing Colombia’s Petro administration
After five weeks in office, President Gustavo Petro’s administration in Colombia faces key challenges in improving the economy and combating insecurity, as highlighted in new analyses this week. In a regional primer on Latin America’s looming inflation crisis, Bloomberg explains that high inflation has had a much greater impact on poorer, more vulnerable Colombians. Their inflation rate is nearly 13%, as opposed to 11% and 9% for middle-class and rich Colombians, respectively. Reforming Colombia’s economic model and conducting peace negotiations and a “total peace” security strategy are key to Petro’s agenda. A new Colombia Risk Analysis report also highlights how these objectives relate to foreign relations, writing that “Petro is focused on reestablishing relations with Venezuela and improving relations with Cuba, as both countries are integral in the peace negotiations with the ELN. Early success for the tax reform and the negotiations with the ELN are quick wins Petro wants to obtain to establish his legacy as Colombia's first left-wing leader.”
At the Latin America Risk Report, James Bosworth and Lucy Hale explain that Petro has sought to conduct peace negotiations with the ELN and other armed groups, but he has received pushback thus far. Furthermore, recent killings of police officers and continued violence highlight the challenge at hand. They write, “It’s true that Petro’s “total peace” strategy is not totally clear or fully defined… At the same time, analysts should be cautious of a double standard in terms of how they consider presidents who seek peace with a muddled strategy vs presidents who launch military deployments with a muddled strategy. Regional media are too often willing to give the benefit of the doubt to presidents who engage in mano dura or militarization (see Bukele or AMLO) while demanding fully detailed strategies from presidents who push policy in the opposite direction.”
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IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and Argentine Economy Minister Sergio Massa met on Monday to conduct a second review of the country’s $44 billion debt program, which the international organization said maintains on course, according to Yahoo Finance. During Massa’s week-long trip to the United States, he also met with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, various high-level executives, and others, reports Bloomberg.
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Despite earlier reports to the contrary, “Brazil's electoral authority on Monday said there was no deal for the military to conduct a parallel count during October's election, while a military source also said there was no plan for the vote count that President Jair Bolsonaro has pushed for,” reports Reuters.
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Former environment minister and presidential candidate Marina Silva has endorsed former rival and current presidential candidate Lula da Silva ahead of the upcoming presidential elections, proof of the successful efforts by Lula to reach out to and engage with an expansive coalition of voters, reports AP.
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President Guillermo Lasso called for a referendum vote that would “approve a reduction in the number of lawmakers, allow the military to support police work to fight drug trafficking and back efforts to protect water sources,” reports Reuters.
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Nicolás Maduro announced on Monday that joint elections for the National Assembly, governors, and mayors would be held in 2025, according to Crónica Uno. The National Electoral Council (CNE) has not yet made any announcements on the matter.
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Venezuela’s migratory crisis continues, as El Venezolano reports that 23,632 Venezuelans crossed the Darien Gap between Colombia and Panama in August.