Thursday, March 20, 2014

And What Happens Post-Petro?

A Petro supporter on Ave. Septima
After signing the order ousting Bogotá Mayor Gustavo Petro, Pres. Santos didn't wait to appoint a replacement. Ex-minister of labor and would be-candidate for mayor and president Rafael Pardo is now mayor of Bogotá, until another interim mayor is designated.

A career politician, except for short stint in journalism, Pardo appears to be a serious, technical guy. He studied in Los Andes University, got a graduate degree in The Hague (Netherlands) and international relations at Harvard University. Pardo started out in the Liberal Party, became an ally of Alvaro Uribe, and then moved back to the Liberals. A bit ironically, he participated in the demobilization of various guerrilla groups, including the M-19, of which just-deposed Mayor Gustavo Petro was a leader.

A small crowd of loyalists listens to pro-Petro speeches
last night on Plaza Bolivar. Earlier, when Petro spoke,
the plaza was full.
Besides labor minister, Pardo has also been senator and defense minister. But his career has also involved controversy. He helped direct the hunt for cocaine cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar, during which government forces allegedly collaborated with a violent, outlaw group named the Pepes, which was established by the rival Medellin Cartel and paramilitary groups. But Pardo also displayed principle and backbone by breaking with Pres. Uribe over his controversial paramilitary demobilization plan and Uribe's plans to run for reelection.

As mayor, Pardo says he'll continue Petro's policies and concentrate improving the city's transit and fighting

Petro, meanwhile, hasn't given up the fight. His supporters have filed new lawsuits against his ouster and the ex-mayor is still appealing to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, altho that appears unlikely to save him.

It's not clear for how long Pardo will be acting mayor.

Petro's party, the Progresistas, are now supposed to present Pres. Santos with a list of candidates from whom Santos will choose one person to act as mayor until the winner of a special election takes office.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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