Abortion, drugs, taxes: Petro's radical shift in Colombia

Next Wednesday (7), the new president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, completes one month in office.

First leftist in history to lead the Colombian Executive, the former The guerrilla did not adopt the strategy of being cautious in his first steps: in the first weeks of his administration, he presented several proposals with an extremely progressive content and made nods to the leftist totalitarian governments of Latin America.

Check out some of the main points of this shift in Colombia’s domestic and foreign policy:


Colombia left in 24 of August the Declaration of the Geneva Consensus, an international alliance against abortion of which Brazil is a part. In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs argued that the new administration “recognises, respects and protects the sexual and reproductive rights and sexual and reproductive health of women and girls.”

In Colombia, abortion it is legal until the 24 week of pregnancy under a February this year decision by the Constitutional Court. At the time, when he was still a senator, Petro signaled that he was against any restrictions on abortion.

“It is not possible to criminalize a woman for having an abortion, leading her to death in clandestine abortion. Don’t kill any more women. May they have the power and decision-making capacity without the threat of arrest or death,” he wrote on Twitter.


Two days before the inauguration of Petro, Senator Gustavo Bolívar, close to the new president, presented a bill in the Colombian Congress to legalize the recreational use of marijuana (medical use is already legal in the country). The president himself has been repeating in his pronouncements that “the war on drugs has failed”.

A few days after the presentation of this project, Bolívar said that the ruling coalition Pacto Histórico is considering proposing the legalization of production and cocaine consumption in the country. “Drug trafficking is growing despite the money we invest to fight it and the thousands of deaths we suffer,” he claimed.

In an interview with CNN, Bolívar cited the ideas of a network of dispensaries regulated by the State where cocaine could be sold under medical prescription and regional agreements with other drug-producing countries.

Petro also proposed to the United States that traffickers who cooperate with the State and do not reoffend should not be extradited to American territory, even if they are requested on drug trafficking charges.

Another proposal is to give priority to manual eradication and voluntary substitution of coca crops in actions with communities to combat drugs.


A tax reform project presented to the Congress by the Petro government establishes tax increases for higher income people and for the export of oil, coal and gold and expansion of the so-called carbon tax.

Preaching the need for a transition in the Colombian energy matrix, Petro’s government plan contained the goal of not granting new licenses for the exploration of hydrocarbons and a compensation policy so that coal and oil reserves are not exploited.

Entrepreneurs in the Colombian energy sector and experts believe that these goals could cause great damage to public accounts and the country’s economy in the coming years.

Foreign policy

Petro has sought a rapprochement with the

dictatorships of the region. In Cuba, the Colombian government announced that it will resume negotiations for a peace agreement with the guerrilla group the National Liberation Army (ELN), talks that were being held in Havana, where the main guerrilla leaders are still based, but which were interrupted during the administration of predecessor Iván Duque.

Colombia has resumed diplomatic relations with the Venezuelan dictatorship, which had been broken for three and a half years, and Petro is due to meet with dictator Nicolás Maduro in October .

With regard to Nicaragua, the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs decided not to send a representative to a meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) in 12 of August, in which a resolution would be voted to condemn the regime of dictator Daniel Ortega for the repression of various sectors of Nicaraguan society.

The TV channel Caracol revealed that this absence, which initially had been understood as a lapse the result of the changes of ambassadors in the first days of the Petro administration, was actually a thought act, which was proven by the attitude of the Colombian government of not supporting the resolution even later.

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