|Posters on the Plaza del Chorro opposing Mayor Petro and the FARC guerrillas, placed by the Union Nacional Socialista, a neo-Nazi group.(Photo: El Espectador)|
|'Petro is staying!' A Petro campaign tent on Plaza Bolivar.|
But the effort to cut short the term of the leftist mayor and ex-guerrilla has, disturbingly, attracted the support of far-right organizations.
|A Gustavo Petro campaign poster.|
More recently, posters from a national socialist organization backing the recall appeared in La Candelaria.
The recall's mainstream backers, who have reasonable if debatable arguments for wanting Petro out, aren't responsible for their extremist supporters. However, they should make it clear that they do not share those groups' ideas and don't want to associate with them.
Altho Petro's popularity is under 50%, the mayor seems confident that he will be able to beat back the recall. His experts are now reviewing the lists of signatures, many of which Petro claims are not valid. To oust him, Petro's opponents must accomplish two things: Get a majority of the votes cast in the recall and also motivate more than 1.2 million bogotanos to participate in the special election. The second is the most challenging, and, according to experts, nearly impossible. For his part, Petro has two strategies to choose from: He can either call on his supporters to boycott the vote, hoping that the minimum participation requirement wouldn't be reached, or campaign to win a majority. The first strategy is probably more realistic, but winning a majority would give his government an endorsement.
|A neo-Nazi poster in central Bogotá denounces communism and the FARC guerrillas.|
|Free Colombia! (Courtesy of the National Socialists)|
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours