Caracas, June 20, 2022 (OrinocoTribune.com)—This Sunday, June 19, just a few minutes after the release of the latest quick count indicated that leftist Gustavo Petro would win Colombia’s presidential election, an avalanche of congratulatory messages inundated social media networks, particularly Twitter. Petro’s opponent, Rodolfo Hernández, conceded defeat, while Colombia’s outgoing President Iván Duque congratulated Petro.
“I congratulate Gustavo Petro and Francia Márquez for the historical victory in Colombia’s presidential elections,” wrote Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on Twitter. “The will of the Colombian people was heard, who went out to defend the path towards democracy and peace. New times are coming for our brother country.”
Felicito a Gustavo Petro y a Francia Márquez, por la histórica victoria en las elecciones Presidenciales en Colombia. Se escuchó la voluntad del pueblo colombiano, que salió a defender el camino de la democracia y la Paz. Nuevos tiempos se avizoran para este hermano país. pic.twitter.com/FxodCn9Uqx
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) June 19, 2022
On the same platform, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel expressed his “fraternal congratulation to Gustavo Petro for his election as president of Colombia in a historical people’s victory. We reiterate our willingness to advance in the development of bilateral relations for the good of our peoples.”
Expreso mis más fraternales felicitaciones a Gustavo Petro @petrogustavo por su elección como Presidente de Colombia en histórica victoria popular.
Reiteramos disposición a avanzar en el desarrollo de las relaciones bilaterales por el bienestar de nuestros pueblos.
— Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (@DiazCanelB) June 19, 2022
Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) wrote a congratulatory message with a commentary on Colombian politics: “Gustavo Petro’s triumph is historic. Colombia’s conservatives have always been tenacious and tough. The writer José María Vargas Vila recounted that the dictators of his country ‘dipped their daggers in holy water before killing.'”
“In 1948,” added AMLO, “that same procedure caused the assassination of the great liberal leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán. The people, inflamed by the crime, destroyed all public buildings in Bogotá and there were thousands of deaths, in a spontaneous and cruel popular revolution… Gabriel García Márquez wrote that his friend Wilfrido Mathieu warned him of what had happened and said: ‘This country was screwed.’ Today’s triumph may be the end of that curse and the dawn for that brotherly and worthy people. Congratulations.”
En 1948, ese mismo proceder causó el asesinato del gran líder liberal Jorge Eliécer Gaitán. El pueblo enardecido por el crimen destruyó todos los edificios públicos de Bogotá y hubo miles de muertos, en una revolución popular espontánea y cruel. 2/3
— Andrés Manuel (@lopezobrador_) June 19, 2022
For his part, Chilean liberal President Gabriel Boric wrote: “I just spoke with Gustavo Petro to congratulate him for his victory in Colombia’s presidency alongside Francia Márquez. Happiness for Latin America! We will work together for the unity of our continent amid the challenges of a world that changes rapidly. We keep going forward!”
Acabo de hablar con @petrogustavo para felicitarlo por su triunfo en la presidencia de Colombia junto a @FranciaMarquezM. Alegría para América Latina! Trabajaremos juntos por la unidad de nuestro continente en los desafíos de un mundo que cambia velozmente. Seguimos!
— Gabriel Boric Font (@gabrielboric) June 19, 2022
The Chilean president’s words contrasted with his statements during the failed Summit of the Americas organized by the White House in Los Angeles. In several media statements and speeches, the so-called leftist president accused Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela of human rights abuses. Meanwhile, Chile has brought its Mapuche land to the brink of civil war, with civil liberties suspended following violent incidents between police and Mapuche land defenders.
Acabo de transmitirle al presidente electo mis felicitaciones por la confianza que el pueblo colombiano ha depositado en él. pic.twitter.com/cmbcTeduJn
— Alberto Fernández (@alferdez) June 19, 2022
The president of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, wrote: “I’m filled with joy by the victory of Gustavo Petro and Francia Márquez at the conclusion of the electoral process in Colombia. I just finished transmitting my congratulations to the president elect, for the trust that the Colombian people have placed in him.”
Acabo de llamar a @petrogustavo para felicitarlo por su histórico triunfo democrático en Colombia. Nos une un sentimiento en común que busca mejoras colectivas, sociales y de integración regional para nuestros pueblos. Hermano Gustavo, cuente siempre con el apoyo del Perú.
— Pedro Castillo Terrones (@PedroCastilloTe) June 19, 2022
Pedro Castillo, the troubled leftist president of Peru, posted a tweet stating: “I just called Gustavo Petro to congratulate him for his historic democratic victory in Colombia. We are united by a common feeling that seeks collective and social improvements along with the regional unity of our peoples. Brother Gustavo, always count on the support of Peru.”
¡Enhorabuena por el pueblo colombiano! Nuestras felicitaciones al hermano @petrogustavo y a la hermana @FranciaMarquezM por su victoria hoy en las urnas. La integración latinoamericana se fortalece. Nos unimos a la fiesta de las y los colombianos.
¡Jallalla #Colombia🇨🇴! pic.twitter.com/z0d7KhMnry
— Luis Alberto Arce Catacora (Lucho Arce) (@LuchoXBolivia) June 19, 2022
“Congratulations to the Colombian people!” wrote Bolivia’s President Luis Arce. “Our congratulations to brother Gustavo Petro and sister Francia Márquez for their victory at the polls. Latin American unity strengthens. We join the party of all Colombians, Jallalla!”
He felicitado telefónicamente a @petrogustavo por su elección como presidente de nuestra hermana República de Colombia y reiteré la disposición de nuestro Gobierno para fortalecer la amistad y cooperación, priorizando el desarrollo y la integración de nuestros pueblos.
— Guillermo Lasso (@LassoGuillermo) June 19, 2022
Guillermo Lasso, the president of Ecuador—currently besieged by powerful Indigenous protests against his neoliberal policies—posted the following tweet: “I have congratulated Gustavo Petro by telephone for being elected president in our sister Republic of Colombia, and I remarked the will of our government to strengthen friendship and cooperation, prioritizing development and unity of our peoples.”
En nombre del pueblo de Honduras felicito al valiente pueblo de Colombia por elegir el histórico cambio social que representa hoy el Presidente electo @petrogustavo.
— Xiomara Castro de Zelaya (@XiomaraCastroZ) June 19, 2022
Xiomara Castro, Honduran president, wrote: “in the name of the Honduran people I congratulate the brave Colombian people for choosing the historical social change represented by president elect Gustavo Petro.
Felicito calorosamente os companheiros @petrogustavo, @FranciaMarquezM e todo o povo colombiano pela importante vitória nas eleições deste domingo. Desejo sucesso a Petro em seu governo. A sua vitória fortalece a democracia e as forças progressistas na América Latina.
— Lula (@LulaOficial) June 19, 2022
Former president of Brazil and leading candidate in its upcoming October presidential elections, Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva also wrote a congratulatory message on Twitter: “I warmly congratulate companions Gustavo Petro and Francia Márquez and all Colombian people for the important victory in this Sunday elections. I wish success to Petro in his government. His victory will strengthen democracy and progressive forces in Latin America.”
As of Sunday night, Jair Bolsonaro, the current president of Brazil, had not posted a congratulatory message to the next Colombian president. Similarly, the right-wing presidents of Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou, and Paraguay, Mario Abdo, had not posted congratulatory messages.
Felicitamos al pueblo de Colombia, al hermano @petrogustavo, flamante presidente electo y a la hermana @FranciaMarquezM, primera vicepresidenta afrodescendiente de la historia de ese país por su indiscutible triunfo en las urnas. Es la victoria de la paz, la verdad y la dignidad. pic.twitter.com/fmC8fxvxGA
— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) June 19, 2022
Evo Morales, Indigenous leader and former president of Bolivia, wrote: “We congratulate the people of Colombia, brother Gustavo Petro, brand new president elect, and sister Francia Márquez, first afro-descendent vice president in the history of that country, for their indisputable victory in the ballots. This is a victory for peace, truth, and dignity.”
The official voting results are yet to be announced, but Colombia’s electoral tradition relies heavily on quick count results, which gave Petro a lead of more than three percentage points over his opponent Rodolfo Hernández. Regional progressives breathed a collective sigh of relief following the admission of defeat by Hernández, a candidate who represented the continuation of the status quo. It was feared that Hernández would not go down without a fight.
Many analysts recognized the key role played by Petro’s running mate, Francia Márquez, due to her personal charisma and deep-rooted connection with social movements. Márquez likely represented the decisive factor for Petro’s victory, following two unsuccessful previous election runs by the center-left politician and former guerrilla fighter, now president elect of Colombia.
Special for Orinoco Tribune by staff