Colombia’s establishment candidate is receiving support from President Ivan Duque’s coalition partners and pseudo-legal “clans.”
Runner up Federico Gutierrez became the most viable candidate to confront the anti-corruption candidates after winning the coalition of the “Team for Colombia” primary in March.
Duque’s coalition partners rally behind “Fico”
Barguil’s secured support of the Conservative Party. Char was reportedly able to recruit much of his Radical Change Party.
The CD decided not to openly support Gutierrez as piling criminal investigations and Duque’s abysmal approval rating made the party toxic.
The Conservative Party, Radical Change and the U Party are also neck-deep in corruption investigations, but don’t seem to care as much.
The support of the parties is significant as their “machineries” can gather massive campaign funds that can buy hundreds of thousands if not millions of votes.
A campaign event in the Caribbean city of Barranquilla last week indicated that Gutierrez may also be able to count on a large number of “clans” from that region, according to political news website La Silla Vacia.
Among those attending the meeting that was hosted by Char Clan patriarch Fuad Char, were multiple clans that have historically dominated the elections in the Caribbean region, not always without the use of fraud.
The Char Clan has almost absolute power in Barranquilla and the surrounding Atlantico province.
Among those invited were the families of convicted former Atlantico Senator Eduardo Pulgar, the adopted daughter of convicted former Senator Vicente Biel from Bolivar and Representative Karen Cure, the heir of jailed mafia boss Enlice Lopez from Sucre, according to La Silla Vacia.
The clan of convicted former Senator William Montes from Bolivar has reportedly also expressed its support for Gutierrez .
This gives Gutierrez significant support from the traditional parties and the electoral barons in the Caribbean region.
Colombia’s corporate media have openly been promoting the Gutierrez campaign while discrediting his rivals.
Weekly Semana, which is run by a member of the Gnecco crime family from Cesar, went as far as calling Gutierrez “a candidate of the people” and urging the frontrunner in the election race, progressive candidate Gustavo Petro, that it was “enough already.”
Despite the abundant free press, imagines from Gutierrez’ campaign indicate that the establishment candidate has barely been able to attract people to his rallies.
The problem with the corporate media that are actively campaigning for Gutierrez is that they have been losing audiences and public approval for years.
Nerves about criminal investigations?
Gutierrez’s bigest impediment may be that ore buyers and jurors working for the clans may be hesitant to commit voter fraud amid ongoing criminal investigations into irregularities in the March congressional elections and alleged attempts to rig the elections in 2018.
This may make it difficult for Fico and his patrons to eject liberal candidates Rodolfo Hernandez and Sergio Fajardo in the first round of the elections on May 29.
Defeating Petro in a possible second round in June may even be impossible.