Colombia: The danger of Rodolfo Hernandez, the lukewarmness of the Historical Pact and the need to defeat the right wing

By Lorena Perdomo. Impulso Socialista IS-ISL

The surprising rise of Rodolfo Hernández in the polls has modified the electoral forecasts, generating greater uncertainty about the results of the first round, and even about the definition of who will reach the Casa de Nariño in the second round. It is important that workers and the youth explain this political phenomenon to us and define a revolutionary position to confront it.

Crisis and social polarization

The worldwide economic crisis has led to political crises that have put regimes and governments in different countries on edge, reason for which a social polarization is being expressed in which there are great struggles of the working class and popular sectors around democratic, economic and social rights, against increasingly authoritarian regimes and governments that require repression in order to pass reforms of austerity and precariousness of life with the aim of safeguarding the profits of the capitalists and unload on the backs of the exploited the ongoing crisis.

This panorama has been strongly expressed since 2018 with rebellions like that of the yellow vests in France or the uprisings in Sudan and Algeria, where 30-year dictatorships fell, in 2019 with rebellions as important as those in Chile and Ecuador, or in 2021 with the huge rebellion of the Colombian people against the Duque government and the Uribista regime. Even in the very heart of imperialism, a black and popular rebellion of several days broke out against the Trump administration. Undoubtedly, we are in a historic period of wars and revolutions, where the crisis itself has deepened the conflict between classes and between imperialist countries to the point of war in Ukraine, with risk of escalating.

In different electoral processes worldwide, polarization has been expressed.  In the absence of revolutionary leaderships that can deepen the struggles, the reformist sectors channel part of the discontent and capitalize it at the electoral level, at the same time “outsider” right wing phenomena are appearing, which use an anti-political caste and anti-corruption discourse that aims to attack such discredited institutions as the parliament, not to strengthen democratic freedoms, but to suppress them in order to give greater power to finance capital to guarantee greater exploitation. Another of their characteristics is that they detach themselves from the traditional parties and claim to be alternative, projecting an image of independence and even irreverence.  Examples of these political phenomena have been Milei in Argentina, Kast in Chile, Bolsonaro in Brazil or Rodolfo Hernandez in Colombia.

Globally, the two ways out of the crisis are expressed, revolutions where the workers triumph or projects of fascist characteristics to deepen exploitation.

Polarization and elections

Clearly the world context touches the economic and political conditions of Colombia. The precariousness of living conditions were the breeding ground for the rebellion that took place in 2021 against the tax reform and escalated against the Duque government and the Uribista regime.

In the midst of the historic process of mobilization, a program for a way out of the crisis was expressed, which went beyond what was proposed by the National Strike Committee and the current program of the Historic Pact. For lack of a revolutionary leadership that could deepen the experience towards a real halt of production while maintaining the mobilization in the streets, the reformist leaderships managed to channel all that energy towards the elections.

While the Historic Pact softens the discourse, makes agreements with right-wing sectors and puts forward a progressive but limited program, in the context of the right wing exits are being expressed which are being strengthened at the electoral level.

On the one hand, the candidacy of Federico Gutiérrez was catapulted after the struggle in the streets was demobilized and the parties of the Uribist regime guaranteed to oil the political machines to accumulate votes and polarize with Petro.

The phenomenon of Rodolfo Hernandez is escalating under an anti-corruption discourse and representing businessmen. He is campaigning without the direct support of the regime’s parties to project an image of political independence in spite of the winks that exist between Uribism and his political project. Today, in the middle of the electoral race, he may reach the second round.

Rodolfo and Uribism are a danger, the revolutionary struggle is the antidote.

It was already demonstrated in the congressional elections that to defeat Uribism in the institutions, it is not enough to vote, mobilization and organization are mainly needed to achieve conquests, since, despite the advance of the Historic Pact as opposition, the parties of the regime continue to be the majority force.

The Historic Pact, instead of radicalizing its discourse and program in favor of the most exploited to convince large sectors in the midst of depoliticization, softens its policy and makes agreements with sectors that have been part of the Uribe regime. Meanwhile, the discourse of Rodolfo Hernandez is shown as “independent” and combative against the corrupt in the midst of the existing depoliticization and confusion, since there are sectors of anti-Uribe voters who see Hernandez’s project as attractive in view of the doubts generated by the Historic Pact.

To defeat the Uribist regime and right-wing phenomena like Rodolfo Hernández, it is necessary to build a revolutionary leadership that helps to strengthen the great capacity of struggle of the Colombian people to defeat governments and advance towards a power of the workers and popular sectors. There is less and less space for progressive projects that are not anti-capitalist and end up becoming right-wing in the midst of the crisis, even before being elected in elections.

In the midst of the current electoral polarization, it is necessary to prepare ourselves for a panorama of greater class struggle, where the construction of a political force with class independence and with a revolutionary program that breaks the limits of this system, is fundamental to guarantee victories.

For the above, in this first round, faced with the need to confront the right wing in the electoral field, since defeating it is only possible in the streets; faced with the lukewarmness and capitulation of the Historic Pact in agreements and alliances with bourgeois and imperialist factions; faced with the danger of proposals like that of Rodolfo Hernández, we propose to maintain an independent policy: Vote blank in the first round! as a form of protest against the bourgeois and imperialist programs that present us as an alternative in these elections.