There’s nothing new about populist outsiders who challenge for national power. Donald Trump, India’s Narendra Modi, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte and other political novices break through by channeling deep public anger at a well-entrenched political elite. They win by presenting themselves as credible agents of “change vs. more of the same.”
That’s what’s stunning about this weekend’s presidential showdown in Colombia. Its political establishment has already been shoved to the side. On Sunday, two populist firebrands—Rodolfo Hernández and Gustavo Petro—both promising a political earthquake, will go head to head to become Colombia’s next president. Both represent an emphatic rejection of the right-wing political clique that has governed that country for decades. Both vow to wage war on corruption, endemic inequality, and growing violence for a people long plagued by poverty and social tensions. The pandemic has made bad situations much worse.
Colombians want change, and no matter who wins on Sunday, they’re going to get it. But these two men and their plans would take this country in very different directions.
The firebrand from the right, Rodolfo Hernández, is a newcomer to national politics. He’s a bottom-line oriented 77-year-old construction baron and a former mayor with a carefully maintained tan, a profane speaking style, a penchant for tantrums, a spectrum-spanning range of anti-establishment campaign promises, and a highly effective communications strategy, boosted by social media, TikTok in particular. Not surprisingly, comparisons to Donald Trump have defined international coverage of his campaign, but the former U.S. president has never called Adolf Hitler a “great German thinker.” (Hernández later insisted he meant Albert Einstein, not Hitler—surely easy to confuse the two.)
He’s known as a builder of affordable housing in a country that badly needs it, though some charge that he has failed to deliver on many of his most …read more
Source:: Time – World