Intellectuals, political leaders, trade unions and popular movements from more than 20 countries expressed support for the government of Colombian President Gustavo Petro, and denounced an attempt at a “soft coup” in the country.
More than 400 people signed a document published this Wednesday (07) entitled “A soft coup is under way in Colombia”, denouncing attempts by sectors of the “traditional powers” to bar the reforms proposed by the leftist president.
“The objective of this coordinated campaign is clear: to protect the interests of Colombia’s traditional powers against popular reforms that would raise wages, improve health, protect the environment and lead to ‘total peace’ for the country,” reads an excerpt from the letter.
Among the signatories, names such as the American intellectual Noam Chomsky, the British labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, the Argentine Nobel Peace Prize winner, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, and the leader of the French left-wing party France Insubmissa, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, stand out.
The document was released this Tuesday, the same day that popular movements and parties are preparing to take to the streets in different places in Colombia to support the Petro government and denounce what they classify as cases of “judicial persecution” against members of the Pact Historic, coalition that brought the president to power.
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“From the offices of the Attorney General and the Public Ministry (MP), respectively, Matrgarita Cabello and Francisco Barbosa are actively targeting members of the Historic Pact with investigations that could result in the suspension, dismissal and disqualification of members of Congress,” denounces the document. .
The signatories also claim that “former generals, colonels and members of Colombia’s military sectors not only revealed their opposition to President Gustavo Petro, but even marched in front of Congress calling for a coup d’état against his government.”
Among the signers of the document are also Brazilian leaders such as João Pedro Stédile (MST), Gleisi Hoffmann (PT), Mónica Valente (Foro de São Paulo), Guilherme Boulos (PSOL), Sérgio Nobre (CUT), among other left-wing and trade union organizations.
Also signed are former Colombian presidents Ernesto Samper, Ecuadorian Rafael Correa, and former Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. The President of the Parliament of Venezuela, Jorge Rodríguez, also participated in the signing of the document.
Read the document in full here.
Understand the crisis in Colombia
Since taking office in August last year, the Petro government has been facing pressure from opposition sectors. Members of the government denounce that there is an attempt to sabotage the government, especially the reforms proposed by the president such as health, labor and social security.
The situation worsened in April of this year, when Petro broke with three right-wing parties that made up his coalition after facing obstacles in Congress to reforms. The decision led to a ministerial overhaul and loss of dialogue with sectors of the center and the right in the Legislature.
While facing internal crises, members of the government and parliamentarians denounce that sectors of the Judiciary, such as the Attorney General’s Office and the MP, try to politicize investigations against alleged irregularities by deputies and senators of the governing coalition.
The last case that amplified the crisis in the government occurred last week, when Petro demanded the resignation of his chief of staff, Laura Sarabia, and of the Colombian ambassador to Venezuela, Armando Benedetti, who had been his head of the electoral campaign.
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Announced last Friday (02), the dismissals of Sarabia and Benedetti come amid threats exchanged by both involving alleged wiretapping, theft of dollars and campaign donations. The MP has already announced the opening of investigations.
The government, in turn, again denounced an attempt at a “soft coup”, refuted all accusations of illegal donations and guaranteed that there were no illegal wiretaps. “I don’t accept being blackmailed,” said Petro, after the legal repercussions.
Editing: Patricia de Matos