Petro warned, however, that he would not for a moment lose his “independence” in any sort of deal reached with Santos, and said he initiated the discussion to help “build a stable democracy.”
Three policy points were raised by Petro in the letter: the redistribution of land from mafia groups to farmers, water regulation to ensure universal access, and reparations for victims of violence.
The National Executive Committee of Polo unanimously distanced itself from the letter saying it was a personal communication between Petro and Santos.
Polo party president Clara Lopez Obregon expressed her party’s opposition to the new Santos-led Colombian government, especially what she called its “neo-liberal policies” that she said have led to more “poverty, unemployment and social inequality in Colombia.”
“The proposal of ‘national unity’ from the new government seeks to camouflage, as if they were the whole country, the policies that have been useful for the interests that hold power,” said Lopez following the meeting of Polo leadership.
“We demand that the new government give us the necessary guarantees to practice our political activities and social mobilizations without wiretapping or actions like those taken by DAS,” she continued.
Petro himself was forced to later clarify what he meant in the letter after his party repudiated it.
“I am trying to restore what it means to have a national dialogue, which is not the same as supporting the government, but rather talking about fundamental subjects related to Colombian society,” he said later in the day.
Santos is currently forming a government of “national unity” and has already included the Liberal Party, which were in opposition in Uribe’s last term, in the governing coalition.