Photo by Fernando Vergara/ Associated Press.

On June 19, Gustavo Petro and Francia Marquez won the second-round vote to become Colombia's next president and vice-president.

They won with 50.49 percent of the vote over the right-wing populist millionaire businessman Rodolfo Hernández (who won 47.25 percent of the vote).

Petro on open-pit mines and fracking

Reuters has previously reported: “Petro favors an economy that depends on agriculture rather than extractive industries, leading the Andean country’s oil and gas and mining sectors to rally behind his rival, the construction magnate Rodolfo Hernandez who posted a surprise second-place finish behind Petro in the election’s first round.”

That article adds: “Petro has promised to stop new exploration for hydrocarbons and construction of new large-scale open-pit mines, and to put an end to investigative fracking pilots and offshore oil and gas projects, some of which already have contracts.”

It also notes: “Some in the industry believe Petro will not be able to slow their operations anytime soon since the government of current President Ivan Duque has signed 69 exploration and production contracts during bidding rounds.”

And notes: “Petro has said that under his administration, coal and oil reserves will be left in the ground and new licenses prohibited, while his government will search for ways to finance the country’s decarbonization agenda. He has also promised to ban large-scale open-pit mining, but hasn’t specified whether this would apply to new projects only.”

The Cerrejon mine is estimated to be operational until 2033, but the PBI-Colombia accompanied CCAJAR lawyers collective has called for it to be closed now.

The context of the National Strike

The Guardian has also previously explained: “The immediate backdrop of the vote is an unprecedented wave of protest that shook Colombia last year, and for many of those who participated in that wave of dissent, the election is a continuation of the same struggle.”

It adds: “The protests – met with widespread police brutality – began over an unpopular tax reform but quickly morphed into a howl of outrage against inequality, and politicized a generation of young voters.”

The New York Times now also comments: “Mr. Petro’s victory reflects widespread discontent in Colombia, a country of 50 million, with poverty and inequality on the rise and widespread dissatisfaction with a lack of opportunity, issues that sent hundreds of thousands of people to demonstrate in the streets last year.”

We continue to follow the situation for human rights defenders in Colombia. Petro and Marquez will be sworn into office on August 7.

PBI has been present in Colombia since 1994.