The Colombian left-wing candidate, Gustavo Preto and with the most chances of becoming the next president on 29 May, has signed before a public notary a document saying that he will not expropriate private companies or assets.
The event took place following on reiterated attacks from other political forces who claim the only way his government program, if elected, can be achieved is by taking over private property for public purposes.
In my deepest respect for the Constitution and the legal system, as president of all Colombians I will not expropriate the wealth and assets of its owners. I will not expropriate, nothing or nobody, reads the statement signed by Petro together with his presidential ticked companion, Francia Marquez
Petro a former mayor of the Colombian capital Bogotá and the favorite presidential candidate according to the latest public opinion polls admitted he felt it was his duty with the Colombian society to make public such a commitment given the scare campaign against his aspiration, and which was decisive in the last election when he just lost to current president Ivan Duque.
There are those who constantly sow doubts about my proposals and intentions towards the Colombian people and come up with this story about expropriations to scare voters. Nothing is further from the truth”, pointed out Petro, who also invited the rest of hopefuls to follow his steps and clearly establish that they will not allow any expropriations, including land from Colombian peasants.
In his statement Petro argues that the Colombian state for too long has allowed landowners and the new rich to keep land taken from peasants and small farmers appealing to paramilitary organizations supported by the current institutional rules and political forces in Congress.
Petro has repeatedly claimed he is the victim of a discredit and smear campaign particularly accusing him of wanting to convert Colombia into another Venezuela.
The first round of Colombia's presidential race in on 29 May with the runoff on 19 June. The former mayor of Bogota remains the strongest candidate but conservative groupings accuse him of links with the guerrilla, Venezuela Chavism and the risk of taking over private property.
Back in 2002 when the Brazilian union leader Lula da Silva won his first presidential election and faced a similar adverse climate as to his alleged real intentions, he decided to go on public television that he would respect and defend private property and assets.