Wildcard: The 76-Year-Old Newcomer Shaking Up Colombia’s Election

By Will Freeman

Win or lose, Rodolfo Hernández’s rise reflects the deep discontent in Colombian politics.

CARTAGENA, Colombia — Everyone knew that strong challengers would emerge to compete with leftist frontrunner Gustavo Petro in Colombia’s May presidential race, but nobody expected Rodolfo Hernández to be one of them. The 76-year-old civil engineer from eastern Colombia has exploded on TikTok—and in the polls. A plain-spoken, cantankerous populist, he was virtually unknown on the national stage before this campaign; he was perhaps most famous for, as mayor of Bucaramanga, slapping a city councilman as cameras rolled for allegedly soliciting a bribe. Hernández refuses to accept...

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