Gustavo Petro, the mayor of Bogota, by means of supporting the peace process, has indirectly endorsed the re-election campaign of President Juan Manuel Santos who less than a month ago supported the mayor’s removal from office.
According to the newspaper El Tiempo, Petro signed an agreement with various progressive and socialist leaders, which indirectly expressed their support for the Santos presidency.
Though the document signed does not specifically address electoral issues, the leaders have agreed to support the Colombian government’s peace negotiations with the rebel group FARC , and thereby the re-election of President Juan Manuel Santos.
The agreement was signed on Tuesday, following a meeting between various left-leaning leaders last week in Bogota, during which they discussed their prospective support.
Despite having been dismissed from office only to be reinstated again, Petro is now cooperating with the very man who fired him.
According to El Tiempo, Tuesday’s agreement was proposed by Petro himself, who a few days after being reinstated as Bogota’s mayor requested a private meeting with Santos.
It was during this meeting that the two allegedly came up with the terms for the agreement, which focused primarily on peace, education, and health.
Along with Petro, some members of the “Progressive Movement” party are also rallying to the Santos campaign, although there is division among the party surrounding this issue.
The decision for Petro to ally with the president has angered members of both his own “Progressive Movement” party and the “Green Alliance” party; the latter of which belongs to former Bogota mayor and current presidential candidate Enrique Peñalosa.
Congresswoman Angelica Lozano, who is also a member of the “Progressive Movement,” stated that her party was not being represented and claimed that the alliance was an “under-the-table” deal.
Lozano also stated that there was no agreement among all of the progressives to adhere to the presidential aspirations of Santos, calling the union a political act, to ensure that Petro finishes his term as mayor of Bogota.
Petro was removed from office in December 2013 due to alleged “irregularities” that were uncovered in his attempts to transfer the city’s privatized garbage collection system into public hands. This allegedly resulted in 9,920 tons of uncollected garbage left on the streets.
As a result, Colombia’s Inspector General, Alejandro Ordoñez, decided to dismiss the city’s mayor and ban him from serving in public office for 15 years.
Since his dismissal, Petro has appealed the decision many times, though all of his “tutelas” or writs of protection were denied by Colombia’s State Council.
Petro has called his dismissal politically motivated and “arbitrary”.
Petro was reinstated at the end of April after after a ruling by the Superior Court of Bogota.
The Superior Court of Bogota — a district appellate court — ordered the Santos administration to comply with a ruling issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which called on the Colombian government to suspend the decision of the country’s Inspector General ordering Petro’s removal.