Mayors and governors throughout Colombia blocked President Ivan Duque’s attempt to restart the economy on Sunday by maintaining their decrees restricting mobility.
Bogota Mayor Claudia Lopez, whose city has been hit hardest by the coronavirus, announced the replacement of Duque’s quarantine, allowing only construction work and bicycle repair shops to restart economic activity.
The mayor of the capital said she was still considering shifts to prevent those working in these sectors going to work at once.
Colombia’s medical community had asked the governments and mayors not to follow the government’s example and maintain restrictions of movement to prevent the collapse of the country’s healthcare system.
Duque’s attempt to restart economy failed
Cali Mayor Jorge Ivan Ospina said he maintained strict restrictions of movement in the country’s third largest city, allowing only a limited number of people to leave home to go to the bank, and buy food and pharmaceutical supplies.
Many governors and mayors had already implemented strict measures to restrict mobility ahead of the national government, sidelining the president who tried to unconstitutionally usurp their powers.
Indigenous communities said Saturday they had gone into full autonomy mode after an apparent outbreak of the coronavirus in a remote reserve in northwest Colombia.
A president without power
The mayors’ decision to side with the medical community instead of the national government was expected as Duque has lost almost all authority over his controversial handling of the pandemic that, under the current conditions, is expected to reach its peak in the second half of May.
The conflicting policies are due to the different authorities’ interests; while the national government is trying to prevent the country and its financial system from going bust, mayors and governments are trying to protect the health and lives of their constituents.
This conflict last month led to a rebellion of lower governments against Duque’s unconstitutional attempt to usurp their powers.