Protests grow: Petro ouster called possible massive human rights violation, blow to peace process
Gustavo Petro fought back Tuesday against a decision to eject him as Bogotá mayor over purported mismanagement of the city´s garbage collection.
He called on Bogotá´s citizens to organize the largest demonstration in the city´s history on Friday to fight back against what he called the enemies of democracy.
Speaking to a crowd of tens of thousands who overflowed Bogotá´s massive Plaza de Bolívar, Petro said the battle wasn´t about preserving his political career, but about protecting democracy in Bogotá and Colombia.
The former M-19 leader said he wasn´t afraid of what damage might be done to him. He said he had already endured imprisonment, torture and having his telephone bugged for more than eight years.
“The damage the inspector general is causing is against the city of Bogotá,¨Petro said to thunderous applause.
He called on Bogotá´s citizens to rise up and not only fill the Plaza de Bolívar, but all of central Bogotá.
Support for Petro came from a wide variety of sources Tuesday. The United Nations said removing Petro as leader could be a massive human rights violation of Bogotá citizens. Rebel leaders described his removal as a massive blow to the peace process. And Colombia´s most respected newspaper said it was clear Inspector General Alejandro Ordóñez had overreacted and possibly violated the Colombian Constitution.
Tossing Bogotá Mayor out of office and barring him from politics for 15 years could be a massive violation of the rights of every Bogotá citizen, said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia Todd Howland.
Howland said he has requested a meeting with Ordóñez to discuss the situation.
“We need to talk about the rights of the citizens of Bogotá who voted for him [Petro]. It is important that the Inspector General understands there exists jurisprudence of the Political and Civil Rights Committee, and the Inter-American Court for Human Rights,” Howland said in an interview at the Colombian presidential palace after a meeting with President Juan Manuel Santos.
Ordóñez said in response that he has received no such request.
Colombia´s leading newspaper El Espectador described tossing Petro from office and barring him from office for 15 years as an “exaggerated response”.
It also stated that many constitutional experts believe Ordóñez overstepped his legal authority.
The FARC said the ouster of Bogotá Mayor Gustavo Petro was “a grave blow against the peace process in Havana” that damaged the “confidence and credibility” in the negotiations.
The FARC who had recently negotiated an agreement which would allow them to participate in a peaceful political process if they can succeed in negotiating a peace accord with the nation Ordóñez “in one stroke, Ordóñez gave the rebels a lesson on what oligarchy means for democracy,” the FARC said in a message published in its blog.
Without confidence that the FARC members can again participate in political life, the chances of an accord which can end fifty years of bloody armed struggle in Colombia are slim.
For more information please read in English: http://colombiareports.co/un-wants-meet-colombias-inspector-general-dismissal-bogota-mayor/