July 5, 2022

SAD: Colombia Goes the Way of Venezuela.

On June 19, Colombians elected former Marxist guerrilla Gustavo Petro as their next president. A close ally of Venezuelan socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro, Petro has pledged to confiscate and redistribute the country’s wealth. His win—along with the recent wave of victories by far-left candidates across Latin America—highlights the need for the United States to reengage with its neglected southern neighbors, or risk their falling into the grip of socialist rulers for decades to come.

At the turn of the century, Colombia was a dangerous and poor country where guerrillas and gangs killed tens of thousands of people every year. Since then, the murder rate has more than halved, average incomes have risen 50 percent, and electricity coverage is now universal.

In the same time span, neighboring Venezuela fell under a socialist regime, led first by Hugo Chávez and now by Nicolás Maduro, that has transformed the country from one of the richest in Latin America to one of the poorest. While Venezuela used to host millions of Colombian migrants, it’s now Colombia that hosts millions of Venezuelans.

The agenda of Colombia’s new president puts the country at risk of losing all it has gained over the past two decades.

Colombians will have no one to blame but themselves for their “bad luck,” but they’ll probably blame those us Norteameicanos, anyway.

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