Colombian President Santos leaves door open for human rights organization to decide Bogotá mayor´s future
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has left the door open for an international human rights organization to determine the fate of Bogotá Mayor Gustavo Petro.
The former M-19 guerrilla leader has been fighting to hang onto his job since Colombia´s right wing Inspector General Alejandro Ordóñez announced he would fire Petro for removing lucrative garbage collection contracts from private companies.
Santos – who is running for re-election as president – has done his best to stay out of the bitter left-versus-right dispute that has polarized Colombia since Dec. 9.
Santos told reporters Monday the Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos asked for his opinion on what should be done, but that he did not respond. Santos has refused requests by both Petro and Ordóñez to take their sides.
“I don´t have an opinion. I will respect what you decide,” Santos said he told the CIDH representatives.
The human rights organization – part of the Organization of American States – was asked by Petro to determine whether the human rights of Bogotá voters were violated by Ordóñez´s order to remove the elected mayor. It has not been alleged or found by Ordóñez that Petro was guilty of a criminal act nor of any form of corruption.
Ordóñez found Petro´s bringing garbage collection into the public domain violated principles of free enterprise and endangered health when garbage piled up in Bogotá streets for a few days in December 2012.
There has been much speculation over whether Colombia would accept a CIDH decision to retain Petro, if it decides that Bogotá voters´rights would otherwise be violated.
Santos´s statements, however, indicate the president will accept whatever the ruling shall be, and continue his attempts to keep from deeply involving himself in the dispute. Santos is currently leading polls for the presidential election.
There is some speculation he could win a first-round victory in May and avoid a contest of the two top finishers that would be held in August.
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