Left-wing candidate Gustavo Petro was elected president on Sunday with 40.32% of the vote. It is the first time the left has won an election in Colombia’s history, and his Vice President Francia Marquez is first Afro-Colombian to hold the position.
Bolsonaro sent a message to a restricted group of BBC News Brazil with the title “Ex-guerrilla wins election in Colombia and will be the country’s first leftist president”.
Accompanying the photo, beleaguered far-right president Bolsonaro wrote: “Cuba…Venezuela…Argentina…Chile…Colombia…Brazil???”, referring to the October election, in which he trails left-wing former President Lula by around 20% in opinion polls.
Although Bolsonaro did not yet react publicly, his main advisor on international affairs, Filipe G. Martins, a former US Embassy and Electoral Court employee who is credited with introducing the Bolsonaros to Steve Bannon, posted on social media, appearing to share the president’s panic at the Colombian election result:
“Faced with the advance of the extreme left in Latin America, with successive victories of candidates from Foro de São Paulo, our responsibility as Brazilians becomes even greater.”
“May God have mercy on us and give us conditions to protect our country and our people!” the ex-US State Department employee continued.
Colombia, along with Bolsonaro’s Brazil, was the United States’ principal ally in South America, and a clean sweep for the left is now a possibility. Already in power in Argentina, progressive candidates have recently won elections in Bolivia, Peru and Chile. Brazil is next.
After a wave of US-backed victories and coups on the continent since 2015, only Ecuador, Uruguay and Paraguay still have right or centre-right governance.
Bergamo notes that “Petro’s victory had another symbolism: it was recognized by his main opponent, Rodolfo Hernández, less than an hour after the results were published.”. This is in reference to Bolsonaro’s threats to not accept the result if he loses in October.
At the Summit of the Americas in early June, Bolsonaro reportedly asked US president Biden for help in defeating Lula, on account that the former president is a “threat to US interests”.
At a recent campaign rallies Lula has dismissed Bolsonaro’s reported coup plot as doomed to fail.