Steps in the radicalization of the Petro government in Colombia

The radicalization of a government can be understood as the process through which the executive branch adopts extreme positions in its ideology, policies and methods of governance. This process may vary depending on the historical, cultural and political context.

Former presidential candidate and former Vice Minister of the Interior Rafael Nieto Loaiza told DIARIO LAS AM͉RICAS that “Petro's radicalization is seen in at least, but not only, three aspects” that worry the Colombian population.

The constitutional lawyer put in context “the expulsion of technicians and technocrats from the government to appoint activists and people loyal to it, even if they have no idea of ​​the subject matter dealt with by the public entity in which they have been appointed.”

Second, he highlighted “the constant attacks on the other branches of public power, Congress, the courts, the Attorney General's Office and at the time also the Prosecutor's Office, attacks that endanger the system of checks and balances that is fundamental. in a democracy.

He added that “the third expression of his radicalization is the proposal of a constituent assembly, a process that escapes the rules established within the Charter of '91 for the modification of the same Constitution, including the rules for the creation and implementation march of a National Constituent Assembly.

For Nieto Loaiza, the terminology that Petro has been using is typical of those in power in countries like Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, in order to “disqualify, detract from their credibility and weaken their opponents.”

He also said that “there are some expressions that are beginning to be very worrying, which are typical of populists, by virtue of which he (Petro) reduces the people solely and exclusively to that faction that identifies with him.” , that is, to the Petrists.

“With this reduction of the town to only a faction that is ideologically related and loyal, it puts at risk the democratic exercise that requires the recognition that in the town there are very different expressions, one that supports the government, others that do not. , and all have equal legitimacy, as long as they are expressed within the framework of what the Constitution establishes,†he noted.

Petro's path

Some political analysts also agree that Petro would be in phases 1 or 2 of that model, which he knows well because, remember, the president served as chief advisor to the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez.

Advised by Petro, Chávez promoted measures that led to the deep crisis that Venezuela is experiencing today. Some of Chavismo's actions opened a door to well-studied expropriation to take away from the private sector everything that those who gravitate around the government elite have enjoyed for many years.

Petro, following the Cuban-Venezuelan parameter, proceeded to intervene in the Health Providers Companies (EPS) Sanitas and Nueva EPS, and led Compensar to request their complete liquidation, amid fears that this policy would be replicated in private universities. through non-payment of ICETEX funds, the entity that finances studies for thousands of Colombians.

Congressman Hernán Cadavid said that “very surely, Petro will try to use mechanisms external to the constitution. It can be a town hall (a community participation mechanism), which is not appropriate, but it can create a situation of instability that justifies extreme measures on which to rely for its narrative.â€

“Petro wants to undermine and ignore the scope and functioning of democratic republican entities. This admits middle terms, either they respect her or they don't respect her, and Petro doesn't respect her. And if he does not respect institutions, he is on his way to implementing dictatorship mechanisms,†he stressed.

In the opinion of María Andrea Nieto, journalist for Semana magazine, “the radicalization of the Colombian president is very complex for Colombia, because the actions he has taken are aimed at guaranteeing his permanence in power after 2026, changing the political constitution of 1991†.

He commented that “Petro not only admires the Venezuelan regime, but he endorses it and proof of this are the visits he makes to the narco-dictator Nicolás Maduro.”

“Petro had always been a far-left radical,†the communicator noted, to which she added “but he had never been president. Now that he has the power, he will do everything possible not to leave Nariño's House, even though it seems like an “ugly and cold” place to him.

Phases of radicalization

As with Petro, a government begins to emphasize extreme ideological differences, often in response to a crisis or instability. The president has presented reform proposals that have not received the approval of Congress, which has generated unrest in the Casa de Nariño, seat of the Colombian government.

In response to this, Petro is trying to mobilize the population through the identification of 'internal' or 'external' enemies, creating an 'us against them'. This step is known as the first in the radicalization process, under the name of 'polarization and mobilization'.

In this framework, the consolidation phase of totalitarianism would imply the strengthening of control over the state and its institutions. This could include modifying legal and constitutional structures to centralize power, as well as suppressing opposition and criticism through authoritarian tactics. This is called 'consolidation of power'.

Studies on this scheme show that if Petro were to consolidate his power, the government could implement policies that reflect his extreme ideology, eventually including radical reforms in the economy, in the social structure, in security and defense policies, and in the foreign relations.This is the third step called 'implementation of radical policies'.

Then the “repression of dissent” could ensue, the objective of which would be to maintain its radical agenda. The government would use repression against those it considers threats. In this context, censorship, arbitrary arrests, torture, and other forms of state violence can arise.

In the 'normalization and legitimation' stage, the government would seek to normalize its radical policies and gain legitimacy both nationally and internationally. This step could be achieved through propaganda, information control, and the use of narratives that justify the government's actions.

The conclusive phase would be that of 'resistance and conflict'. As radical policies and practices deepen, resistance is likely to arise both within the country and internationally. This can lead to internal conflicts, international isolation, and in some cases, external interventions.