Presidential candidate Aída Abella returns from exile to support deposed Gustavo Petro
Aída Abella was running her Colombian presidential campaign from Switzerland where she has lived in exile since surviving a rocket attack in Bogotá.
But she returned from exile on the first flight available after former M-19 guerrilla leader Gustavo Petro was deposed as Bogotá mayor in a controversial decision by Colombia´s Inspector General Alejandro Ordóñez, who also happens to be an enemy of a negotiated peace with Colombias FARC guerrillas.
Abella delivered a rousing speech to thousands of persons who spontaneously gathered in the capital´s Plaza de Bolívar to opposed Petro´s removal. She told the crowd estimated at 40,000 persons Petro´s ouster demonstrated that nothing has changed in Colombia. She said the rich still are unwilling to share power and respect democracy.
Her strong performance suggested that she has the potential to unite Colombia´s fractured left-wing parties into one force which could challenge the status quo.
She said Petro´s problems were not the alleged mismanagement of Bogotá´s garbage collection service, but his battle against corruption in Colombia.
She charged his attempts to remove the lucrative contracts from wealthy Colombians “who wanted to enlarge their fortunes with (Bogotá´s) garbage.”
Petro´s changes to the garbage collection system resulted in one week of garbage accumulating in the streets of Bogotá.
Petro warned the removal of left-wing politicians by such suspicious methods demonstrates the dangers the FARC guerrillas will face if they choose to abandon armed struggle and try to change Colombian in the political arena, as did M-19 decades ago.
Protests against Petro´s removal, in what he described as a coup, have spread to other Colombian cities such as Cali and Popayán.
Yet another stunning development in the “coup” against Petro was the revelation that Ordóñez informed Petro´s most vociferous opponents that he was going to turf the Bogotá mayor in a meeting more than a month ago.
Included in one of those meetings was former president Álvaro Uribe, who is running for the senate in next year´s elections. Úribe also leads the movement against a negotiated peace with the FARC guerrillas.
A second protest against the decision to fire Petro as Bogotá mayor is expected to occur in Plaza de Bolivar this evening. More protests are expected as the left galvanizes its forces.
For more information please read, in English: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/10/bogota-mayor-gustavo-petro-removed