Federico Gutierrez

Federico Gutierrez (Image: Con La Oreja Roja)

Medellin Mayor Federico Gutierrez is a civil engineer by trade who has taken part in the politics of Colombia’s second largest city for more than a decade.

Gutierrez was born in Medellin in 1974 where he studied civil engineering at the university of Medellin, specializing in senior management, followed by political sciences at the Bolivariana University.

From a young age Gutierrez was involved in politics as a municipal youth councillor and a municipal planning councillor.

Gutierrez was elected in 2003 as councillor for the New Party. During this term he supported then-Mayor Sergio Fajardo. In 2007 he was re-elected as city councillor with the current President Juan Manuel Santos’ U-Party and was chairman of the council in 2008, initially aligning himself with then mayor, Alonso Salazar.

In 2011 he ran for Mayor of Medellin with the support of former President Alvaro Uribe, but lost out to current Mayor Anibal Gaviria (Liberal Party).

When he began campaigning in May this year, he was supported by Federico Restrepo, a candidate for Governor of Antioquia and also an ally of Fajardo.

The two calling themselves the “Federicos” toured Medellin collecting signatures to be added to the ballot. Restrepo abandoned Gutierrez however, in favor of candidate Alonzo Salazar, reportedly due to Restrepo’s stagnating popularity in contrast with Salazar who was tipped as a favorite.

Gutierrez, supported by the “We Believe” movement, has reportedly been believed by the Salazar campaign to be Uribe’s trojan horse, due to prior affiliations with the right-wing former president.

The new mayor on the other hand, insisted that his governance will be independent, and his promise is to govern with and for the people.

However many have been unhappy with Gutierrez’s actions as mayor. In 2016 youth organizations, who were fed up with the ongoing gang violence, urged the mayor to effectively execute the security policies he had promised while campaigning to become mayor in 2015.

The city saw its homicide rate rise in 2016 for the first time since 2008 when the extradition of AUC and Oficina boss “Don Berna” sparked a turf war that cost the lives of approximately 2,000 people.

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