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Colombia, which is America’s strongest ally, has always had the most level-headed voters in the region.

They’ve had two conservative parties, sometimes at once, and voters there have always rejected the crazy left, which in their case, is a Castro-grade revolutionary crazy grade of left, with Bill Ayers-types on steroids.

They did, after all, fight a 60-year war against Marxist narcoterrorists, with only a few university wokesters defending them.

So it was shocking news that on Sunday (6/19), Colombians went and elected just about the worst leftist of this stripe, a former M-19 narcoguerrilla named Gustavo Petro, president, turning one of the most conservative countries in the region to the far left for the first time.

The freak belonged to the M-19 narcoterrorist outfit that operated in the 1980s and 1990s, aligning itself at some point with Pablo Escobar himself.

That group blew up the Colombian Supreme Court — with all the justices in it — and a huge loss of life. No normal person would join a detested group like that. After that, Petro went on to whoop it up with Hugo Chavez as the best of radical leftist allies, and like Chesa Boudin, became “an advisor” to the late, unlamented, Venezuelan thug.

Petro and Chavez go way back, as this undated photo shows:

Petro (on right) with Hugo Chavez in July 1994

Petro (on right) with Hugo Chavez in July 1994

Venezuela wasn’t a warning to Petro, it was the playbook.

After that, he became a lousy blue-city mayor of Bogota for a stretch, reducing the quality of life same as is seen in blue cities here. He had to have had some kinds of political skills, given his record both as a reviled leftist terrorist and a crappy mayor.

All the same, it seems to make so little sense that Colombians would vote for such an unworthy creature. They literally have Venezuela next door to them and the voters paid no attention to what happened there as a cautionary tale.

If the shambles of the country weren’t enough, they have millions of Venezuelan illegals in their country who have fled the socialist hellhole to tell them all about it, yet to no avail.

Here’s another thing: Voters have elected leftists all over Latin America in recent months — and every last one of them has gone unpopular. Colombians didn’t notice that, either.

Petro’s plan was a bad one, too, as bad as those of the other newly elected leftist leaders ahead of their popularity plunges, though it must have appealed to some — high spending, greenie agenda; putting Colombia’s top export earnings generator, its oil industry, out of at least the export business; a government make-work job to anyone who wants one; private pension expropriation in favor of state-dictated pensions; and an end to the war on drugs — quite a thing in cocaine-cartel-exporting Colombia.

Formula for inflation and illegal immigration? Get ready for it.

Without going into details about what this means for the U.S. here are some back of the envelope suggestions that might explain why Petro won:

One, the victory was part of a big leftist wave — from Peru, to Argentina, to Chile, to Honduras, and perhaps a few others, including socialist Mexico. These weren’t ordinary leftists but crazy ones, Hugo Chavez-style ones, who insisted that they were democrats, just as Hugo used to do.

I still do not fully understand the dynamics of this, but the continent often does move as a group from one side of the spectrum to the other. Anne Applebaum, in an insightful  Atlantic piece (wrecked by her obsessive desire to include Donald Trump on the list), spoke of the networks of players who make bad leaders possible. There is something to this to explain why “the bad guys are winning,” as she put it, certainly on the rabid left.

Two, low growth. Colombians and similar nations such as Peru and Chile went and elected conservatives … who unlike President Trump … delivered low growth. Low growth, low jobs, nothing for the abundant young people just entering the workforce — is political poison. Why not vote for someone different if voting for conservatives doesn’t bring home the jobs and salaries?

It’s noticeable that Colombia, which saw high growth under largely authentic conservative President Alvaro Uribe more than a decade ago, killed off Colombians’ urge to emigrate to the states illegally, the illegal flow actually went to near-zero.

In past years, when Colombia was dealing with a pair of RINOS that followed, the first worse than the second, the illegals began outflowing again — something was going wrong.

Three: COVID. These nations, with Colombia no exception, went hard on lockdowns and social spending, bringing in high inflation and no benefits to the economy, just hardship. Their leaders wanted to be good boys, make the WHO happy, do the global Fauci standards, be respectable, get their Nobel prizes.

It created bitterness and resentment. If this is what you get voting right-wing, why not go for the 100-proof stuff and vote left-wing instead?

Four: Social unrest went unchecked, same as BLM protests and burning American cities in the summer of 2020. The response, particularly in Chile, was very weak, and it was present in Colombia, too. As we saw in the states, many voters vote for the leftist party in a mistaken belief that the vote will placate the left and bring peace or normalcy. It never does.

Five: In Colombia, a fifth factor may be involved — shortly before President Trump was elected in 2016, the country held a referendum on what to do about FARC, whether to accept a referendum on letting the terrorists off scot-free in exchange for a Cuba-brokered “peace” by giving FARC free congressional seats and radio time, plus no jailtime for most human rights violations, including murder, or to reject it.

Much to the establishment’s surprise, the voters rejected it. They had after all, lost decades of blood and treasure fighting these animals. The supposedly conservative government literally ignored them and carried on with its plan.

Does that sound like a formula for obtaining voter trust? If this is what you get with conservatives, why worry about voting left?

Six: Wokester education remains rampant in Colombia’s universities and has for years. The latest leftie obsession is greenie nonsense. That supposedly drew in the younger voters, with little to remember about the country’s nightmarish experience with leftist guerrillas.

There are always deeper reasons why elections turn out as they do, in some kind of collective voter wisdom. Colombian voters are not going to like how this turns out, but it helps to try to understand what happened. One can only hope that the non-majority in Colombia’s legislature will stop some of Petro’s bid to “change” the country, and Colombia’s voters will find the conservatives they deserve.

For now, Columbia’s electoral suicide definitely holds some lessons for all of us.


Monica Showalter is a journalist whose analyses have appeared in Forbes, the Asia Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, and American Thinker.