Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Most Hated Man in Colombia?

Inspector General Alejandro
Not long ago, Alejandro Ordoñez was a somewhat obscure, if polarizing, government official and Gustavo Petro was mayor with a popularity problem.

Then Ordoñez ousted Petro from the office and banned him from politics for 15 years - all for mishandling Bogotá's garbage collection system.

A sign outside a La Candelaria cafe says:
'No to the inspector general's intolerance.
No to dictatorship.'
Today, Petro is on his way to becoming a martyr and folk hero, while Ordoñez is the target of anger by Petro's backers and is being questioned and criticized by other high government officials.

Ordoñez extreme conservatism has long gained him the oprobrium of many left-leaning Colombians. A conservative Catholic and follower of controversial French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre - some of whose followers deny the Nazi Holocaust - Ordoñez has staunchly opposed same-sex marriage and abortion rights in Colombia. Ordoñez believes that the Colombian state, which is officially secular, should be based on Catholic doctrine, according to his Wikipedia entry. Ordonez's efforts to discourage even information about legal abortion rights have earned him warnings from other government officials.
Petro already a folk hero? Signs on Plaza Bolivar associate
Petro with assassinated comedian Jaime Garzon.

Ordoñez's latest decision to oust Petro was criticized by both the minister of justice and the attorney general, Eduardo Montealegre, who called Ordoñez's action "inquisitorial" and "anti-democratic."

A survey this week found that 60% of Bogotanos disagreed with Ordoñez's action - and that Petro's popularity had leapt from 42% to almost 51%.

On the other hand, amongst very conservative, very Catholic Colombians, Ordoñez is surely very popular.

And, to Ordonez's credit, he has ousted both liberal and conservative politicians from office.

But Colombians will have to live with Ordoñez for a while yet. Recently elected by Congress to a second term as inspector general, he will hold office until 2017.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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