1675638259 Gustavo Petro and Alvaro Uribe meet for the third time

Gustavo Petro and Álvaro Uribe meet for the third time and avoid a confrontation

Gustavo Petro and Alvaro Uribe meet for the third time

Although President Gustavo easily defeated Petro Uribismo in last year’s elections, Álvaro Uribe remains his most respected interlocutor for the opposition. Last Friday, the President and leader of the left met again with the former President and leader of the right. It was the third meeting after Petro won the election after decades of being political enemies. Uribe failed to win his candidates in the 2022 elections, prosecutors continue to investigate him, and his party has been weakened following the unpopular government of former President Iván Duque. Meeting with him bolsters Petro Uribe as a key opposition figure and may lessen the impact of his criticism amid bitter social reform debates this semester.

The first meeting between the two leaders took place in June 2022, days after Petro won the elections, after which the former president said his party would offer “reasonable opposition” to the new government. It was a meeting Petro called to prove he could rule for everyone, including his enemies. The second meeting took place in September, when Petro was already president, had already presented his ambitious tax reform and was moving forward in the agrarian reform debate. After this meeting, Uribe reiterated that he wanted to make a “constructive opposition”. The result is that in six months in government, Uribe has been no loss for Petro.

The last meeting took place last Friday evening, and according to the public version, they discussed the social reforms that the government will present this semester: health care, pension and labor reforms. “Various problems of the homeland were discussed,” ex-President Uribe wrote briefly on his social networks.

Also present at the meeting was ranchers’ leader José Félix Lafaurie, a former Uribista presidential candidate, who disagreed with Petro, who, as an opposition figure, also lowered his tone after agreeing with the president that the government would buy three million hectares from the ranchers (now he is also a government negotiator at the dialogue table with the ELN guerrillas). Lafaurie published his version of what happened at the meeting.

“This is a respectful President of the Opposition who wants to know the opinion of a former head of state, the leader of the opposition, on issues that are crucial in light of ongoing reforms, particularly health, and another range of issues that have been raised with great respect, with great warmth,” he says in a video that he shared on social networks.


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The meeting took place a few days before Petro presented the bills for these reforms and when there were already statements against some of them. Especially given the reform of the healthcare system that could put an end to Health Provider Companies (EPS) and give Colombians a basic service.

Cabinet members have already spoken out against it, such as former Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria, who is responsible for education. Some small sections of the opposition are planning a protest march against the reforms for February 15, but ex-President Uribe has not yet supported it.

The former president has stated in his networks and at some regional events that the health sector needs “adjustments to improve preventive medicine” but calls for “adjustments without interruption”. He did it discreetly without attempting a strong confrontation with the President. Either because of his image damage from the investigation he has at the prosecutor’s office or because of these three strategic meetings with Petro, Uribe continues to resist quite discreetly.

There is an unofficial version of what was implicitly under the table at that third meeting. Also present was the lawyer Héctor Carvajal, who has worked for both Gustavo Petro (when he was deposed as mayor of Bogotá) and Álvaro Uribe’s two sons (in an administrative dispute over a million-dollar commercial) over the past few decades was business). . He is a man who has earned the trust of two of Colombia’s most influential politicians over the past two decades.

Carvajal was already present at the first meeting and according to Cambio magazine he is one of the most interested and chose to become the next Attorney General when the current one leaves office. For that, he needs the approval of the president, who must have him, and votes among the Supreme Court justices. Former President Uribe, who is being investigated by prosecutors, clearly doesn’t want any of his enemies in the position, and Carvajal is not part of that group. President Petro, who also trusts Carvajal, would do Uribe a great favor with a friendly face. There is still a year and many more meetings to find out if a similar deal will be finalized.

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