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Montevideo, September 25th 2023 - 16:39 UTC



Petro warns “soft coup” against him will not prevail

Thursday, June 8th 2023 - 10:26 UTC
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Castillo was alone. Petro is not alone, the Colombian President stressed. Castillo was alone. Petro is not alone, the Colombian President stressed.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro Wednesday said he could face the same fate as Peru's Pedro Castillo Terrones as Congress might try to impeach him out of office. “Once the reforms are overthrown, they intend to destroy me in the Commission of Accusations,” Petro argued while urging lawmakers not to betray “the will of the people”.

Petro spoke of a “soft coup” against him and warned that there were sectors that seek to replace him “against the popular will, as it happened in Peru.

”It is called a soft coup. It is a coup d'état, against the popular will. Once the reforms are overthrown, they plan to destroy me in the Commission of Accusations to do exactly what was done in Peru“, said Petro.

”We make a respectful request to the Colombian Congress: Approve the reforms that guarantee the rights of the people. Congress should not turn its back on the people,“ Petro insisted.

”They want to take the president to jail and change him for one not elected by the people, who would be the one they are going to elect as head of Congress next semester,“ he then denounced.

”But Castillo was alone. Here we tell them that no, Petro is not alone. If they dare to violate the popular mandate, the people will come out from every corner, from under every stone, from every municipality, to defend the popular triumph.“

After cabinet changes due to an illegal wiretapping scandal and allegations of illegal financing of his campaign, the ruling party dismantled the alliance that gave it a majority, and is holding back government initiatives to reform health care, the pension system, and labor legislation.

Colombian trade union confederations - the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores, the Confederación General del Trabajo, and the Confederación de Trabajadores de Colombia - filled the streets of the main cities Wednesday in support of Petro, and leaders from all over the world expressed their endorsement to the president in a text with more than 400 signatures.

”Let Congress know that the reforms are not a whim of a president nor are they bad, as the owners of big capital say, but the wishes of an entire people. Let Congress not betray the people,“ Petro demanded.

”There are people who still did not read what the popular decision of last year's polling stations means,“ Petro expressed. ”They think it was simply a fad, a passing fever, a delirium. We say very clearly that it was not so. The people who elected the president are still with the president and both want to turn the government program for which the people voted into reality,“ Petro went on.

”We shout to them from here, from the squares and the streets, with all the respect, from our humility, from our desire for justice, that they approve the reforms that guarantee the people their rights“, he added. Then, again with his sights set on Congress, the President clarified that ”the request for approval of their initiatives is not a violent, disrespectful, armed request“, but ”a popular request that comes from the entrails of the excluded territory“.

”The people approved this at the ballot box. It is a popular mandate. We are going for a decent job, for free health care for all, we are going for any old man and woman to have a pension bonus to be able to exist, and we are going -these will be the projects of the next semester- for the reform of public services“, he said.

He promised these modifications in the services ”so that the axis is not the businessman who earns the bill with his hands full“, but he also announced a reform to the Higher Education Law ”so that the youth can have access to the right to be educated“. He also questioned the ”lying polls“ spread by some media and defended ”the real polls, which say that we are still the popular majority“.

”Let them not dare to break with democracy.“

”There is a strategy: they want to destroy popular support to have a government alone; they want to isolate the government, build distrust in the popular base to sink the reforms and bring Congress to its knees before big capital“, denounced the president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro. He then outlined his theory of the ”soft coup“ underway, to which he countered with the warning that ”if they dare to destroy democracy, the people will build it“.

”Let them not dare to break with democracy because they will encounter a giant,“ he warned. The concept of ”soft coup“ was elaborated some years ago when several progressive presidents were removed from office through mechanisms in some cases constitutional, but forced or based on evidence that in certain occasions were found to be false.

The concept was included in a Progressive International statement of support for Petro, with the signatures of, among others, Argentine Nobel laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel; Spanish jurist Baltasar Garzón; British Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn; former French presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon; and former presidents Rafael Correa, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Ernesto Samper.

The traditional powers ”have been organizing to restore an order marked by extreme inequality, environmental destruction, and state-sponsored violence,” the document states.

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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