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Colombia: Gustavo Petro Returns as Mayor of Bogotá

Petro se queda

Image by user Arttesano on Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0.

The legal battles continue in the Colombian courts regarding the case of Gustavo Petro, removed from office by President Juan Manuel Santos on March 29, 2014. After President Santos did not abide by the precautionary measures issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), he then reinstated Petro in compliance with the ruling of the Superior Court of Bogotá, which followed the writ of protection filed by a citizen.

Twitter has become the place committed to updating what is happening with this process. Initially, Gustavo Petro’s first reaction was reported, but also the news of the President of Colombia accepting the decision:

This time the Superior Court of Bogotá is protecting political rights, which are the human rights of the citizenship of Bogotá—Bogotá’s and mine.

I have signed the decree to reinstate Mayor Petro. My duty as President was, is, and will always be to comply with the law.

On Twitter, the supportive messages for Petro continue:

Successes for @petrogustavo in management. He will surely succeed. Democracy is happy.

Thank you, Mayor, for being that popular leader and looking after the disadvantaged. God bless you.

There are also those expressing their admiration and characterize him as President of Colombia:

I’m from Tulua Valley and please do not disappoint me, you have to be our president! My president.

We also find messages of reflection and analysis, like the ones expressed by the writer and screenwriter Gustavo Bolivar for his followers:

The message of the mafias of power with this obvious persecution of Gustavo Petro is: steal and let steal or we will make your life miserable.

On the other hand, other people who do not support Gustavo Petro also spoke up:

If I detested Petro before, now I hate him, and his party, those who rally around his flag, his Cuban friends.

Reinstating Petro is a mockery of established procedures. If it doesn’t work, accept it and goodbye.

However, a weariness in the air can be perceived among the people, as we can see in the opinions of these two users, who question the processes:

I’m tired of the “Petro” story. This became a war of power and egos that does not prioritize the welfare and stability of the citizens.

I’m tired of how they play with Bogotá, its citizens and its democracy. Is Petro coming or going? We deserve respect.

Others on Twitter choose to deal with these facts with humor or sarcasm:

Petro for mayor again, noooo what a farce of justice… hahaha… what a circus…

The Bogotá Theater Festival presents: Petro for mayor again.

In his blog “Nueva Era” [es] Santiago Villareal Cuellar calls these events science fiction:

Como si se tratara de una novela de aquellas en que la novia deja al novio y viceversa, se ha convertido la alcaldía de Bogotá.

As if it were one of those novels where the bride leaves the groom and vice versa, that’s the mayorship of Bogotá

He bluntly concludes:

Así las cosas, de este proceso que más parece ficción que realidad, nuevamente Petro regresará a la alcaldía de Bogotá y ahora tendrá que afrontar de nuevo otro desafío, el de la revocatoria de su mandato por parte del electorado bogotano. En cualquier momento, otro capítulo de esta que parece una novela de ficción. 

So, this process that seems more fiction than fact, Petro will return again to the mayorship of Bogotá, and now will have to face another challenge, the revocation of his mandate by the electorate of Bogotá. At any moment, another chapter of this, which seems like a novel.

Ramiro Bejarano Guzmán alerts us to the danger to the injunction because of Attorney General Alejandro Ordóñez when he says in El Espectador [es]:

Lo único que nos falta es que, por cuenta del enredo que se ha creado con el empeño del procurador Ordóñez de tumbar a Petro, salga damnificada la acción de tutela, la única conquista y garantía democrática que vela por los derechos de los ciudadanos de a pie.

The only thing missing is that, because of the mess created by the efforts of Attorney General Ordóñez to overthrow Petro, the writ of protection is the victim, the only conquest and democratic guarantee that ensures the rights of ordinary citizens.

And in his analysis he asserts:

No se nos puede olvidar que el causante de todo este gran galimatías, de un alcalde que un día lo destituyen y otro lo restablecen, no es la acción de tutela, sino el procurador Ordóñez y su siniestro plan de lanzarlo del Palacio Liévano [nota del editor: lugar en donde funciona la Alcaldía Mayor de Bogotá]. No hay que confundirse; la acción de tutela ha sido el remedio, no la enfermedad.

We cannot forget that the cause of all this great gibberish, of a mayor who is removed one day and reinstated to office the next, is not the work of the writ, but of the Attorney General Ordóñez and his sinister plan to throw him out of the Liévano Palace [editor’s note: place where the Mayor of Bogotá works]. Make no mistake: the writ has been the cure, not the disease.

In spite of the fact that Bogotá has had three mayors in barely three days -Rafael Pardo, María Mercedes Maldonado and the current Gustavo Petro- the issue doesn’t end here: President Santos and Attorney General Ordóñez will challenge the decision before the Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court.

What is true is that with the return of Mayor Pedro, convening a recall in June is certain, at which time the citizens will decide at the polls whether Gustavo Petro remains in office or not.

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