Electoral ballots (AP)

Voters receive electoral ballots. in Bogotá (AP)


LatAm in Focus: Colombian Voters Buck the Presidential Status Quo 

By Jon Orbach

The Washington Post's Samantha Schmidt covers how runoff candidates Gustavo Petro and Rodolfo Hernández are shaking up the political landscape.

“I think that [Hernández is] completely changing the game of the elections.”

Schmidt recently came back from a reporting trip to Bucaramanga, a mid-size eastern city near the Venezuelan border, where Hernández, 77, grew up and eventually served as mayor. There, the journalist met Hernández’s 97-year-old, gun-toting mother. Schmidt also heard reports that the candidate was known to insult his employees and for his brash way of speaking—considered a trait of people from his home department of Santander.

She adds that it can be hard to place Hernández on the political spectrum, given his support for some traditionally leftist policies, such as support for same-sex marriage and abortion. But he’s also in favor of a small state and an austere government, and he’s gained support from rightist camps.

“There are a lot of big question marks around him in part because he's just an outsider,” explains Schmidt. “But he's energized lots of people through TikTok, and he's run this campaign in a whole new way that is completely shaking up political dynamics.”

Jon Orbach produced this episode. Luisa Leme is the executive producer.

The music in this episode is Nilko Andreas Guarín performing “Guitar Prelude No. 4 (H Villa-Lobos)” for the Music Program at Americas Society. Watch the video.

Editor's note: The introduction to this podcast indicates the Mexican political party know as the PRI will, following 2022 gubernatorial inaugurations, control two of 32 governorships. However, it will control three of 32.