Peñalosa anticipated that Petro would use any pretext to talk about the Constituent Assembly: “he does not condemn Maduro because he has in mind to do the same.”

Luc Williams

The former mayor of Bogotá Enrique Peñalosa spoke with on February 22, 2024. Within the framework of the analysis he made of the insecurity in the capital, the former president once again highlighted the possibility that, in 2026, President Gustavo Petro will seek the methods to remain in power.

The complete interview with Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Bogotá:

When Peñalosa was asked about the way in which President Petro would seek to stay in power in 2026, when his term ends, Peñalosa said that the formula is the pressure in the streets to undermine the legitimacy of institutions. “He creates such a mess that it is possible that he will say that it is necessary to put restrictions on democratic freedoms,” he said.

“He is the first interested in generating disorder; I want you to listen to Petro's speeches from the first day, he constantly says that you have to go to the streets,” insisted the former mayor of Bogotá, who incidentally said that the president knows that those who support him to take to the streets are usually, in many times, very violent people. “Within the Constitution she has no possibilities, nor is Congress going to judge her on that, I do not believe that the candidates for the Prosecutor's Office represent a threat“said Peñalosa, who was then asked what the path would be and responded that with a model very similar to that of Nicolás Maduro, president of Venezuela, who ignores the institutions and has remained in power.

“We have to be alert, I hope I'm wrong and I prefer to look like a crazy person. Why has Petro never condemned Maduro's flagrant violations of democracy, such as disqualifying (María) Corina Machado? Why doesn't he condemn it? Well, because he has in mind to do exactly the same or similar thing,” stated Peñalosa.

The president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, asked at that time that “free elections” be held in Venezuela, but maintained his silence on the court ruling that confirmed the disqualification of opposition member María Corina Machado. “Colombia is interested in Venezuelan society living in peace, in deep democracy and having economic and social well-being again,” the president wrote in a long message on social network X, in which he does not mention the opposition leader. of ahead of the presidential elections scheduled for this year.

Petro, an ally of his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolás Maduro, insisted that the United States end economic sanctions against Venezuela. “The blockade must be lifted and there must be free elections,” he added. His government has not expressed itself in favor or against the Supreme Court of Justice of Venezuela, which on January 26 sealed a 15-year political disqualification against Machado. This decision will prevent him from facing Chavismo at the polls.

In the absence of a statement, Petro's critics indicated that he is being complicit in Maduro's attempt to perpetrate himself in power. Petro has offered to mediate between Maduro and the opposition. In April 2023, he organized a summit in Bogotá with representatives of the countries of the region and the European Union, which did not reach any agreement. Washington warned the president of Venezuela, whose re-election in 2018 it considers fraudulent, which will reimpose sanctions on the oil and gas sector in April if it does not change course. Finally, Peñalosa considered it “chimbo” that the president insists that they want to carry out a coup d'état.

“Dialogue yes, consultation yes, but with the people in the streets. If the institutions that we have in Colombia today are not capable of living up to the social reforms that the people, through their vote, decreed, demanded, commanded and ordered, then it is not the people who are kneeling towards their home, defeated. “It is the transformations of these institutions that have to be presented,” the president indicated.


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