There are three extreme scenarios for the administration of Colombia’s newly minted president, Gustavo Petro, who took office on Aug. 7.
The first is an optimistic one, mostly envisioned by those on the left, in which the first leftist president of Colombia uses his office as an opportunity to bring about historic change to the country. He would achieve accountability for past injustices, implement new peace deals that lead to sustainable security and reframe Colombia’s economic system to make it more inclusive and prosperous for everyone—not just the elite.
The other two scenarios are more pessimistic. There is an apocalyptic scenario, mostly predicted by commentators on the right, in which Petro attempts to consolidate power and implement some form of socialism that destroys Colombia’s current economic model. The people who believe this is what awaits the country see Venezuela’s collapse as a warning for what could happen to Colombia under a left-wing administration. They point to Petro’s previous positive comments about former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his ideological project, chavismo, as proof that Petro plans to govern like his late neighbor.