This Wednesday the country witnessed a meeting that some people considered unlikely: Gustavo Petro and Alvaro Uribe, the two most ideologically opposed political leaders, They sat down to talk for about 30 minutes, in a private meeting, and then for about 2 hours together with their work teams.
(In context: Gustavo Petro and Álvaro Uribe agree on a permanent communication channel)
Petro, for his part, was accompanied by Alfonso Prada, his head of debate during the presidential campaign. Álvaro Uribe brought several representatives of the Democratic Center: Senator Ciro Ramírez, former presidential candidate Alirio Barrera, director of the Nubia party Stella Martínez, and House representative Juan Fernando Espinal.
One of the main conclusions of the meeting was that Petro and Uribe agreed to maintain an open dialogue channel. This is how the former president expressed it: “I will not bother you much and it will be to talk about these country issues. You are the president, we will bring you some ideas and we are going to feed that channel of dialogue in the following way: what you have, what we can approve without calculation, we will gladly do it. If there are topics in which our concept can be used for a transaction or an agreement, fine. And in what we have to disagree, count on a reasonable opposition, on my part seeking to maintain channels of dialogue, “said the former president.
Uribe said that he will contribute “as an opposition force”: “On my part, respecting the plurality of the party, there must be, and I impose it, respect and arguments to feed the permanent opening of a channel of dialogue with the president.”
For political analyst and strategist Guillermo Henao, this meeting “can be used by Petro to de-escalate verbal and discursive violence that occurred in the electoral contest, with the goal that the message or narrative that is left to the electorate is: ‘Petro talks with everyone equally'”.
On the other hand, Henao also points out that the conditions of the meeting are now different: “It is a very important meeting because of what it means for the country’s politics: Before, all the conversations were directed by Uribe, even as a former president he directed the terms of the meetings and dialogues of Santos in his first months and of Iván Duque. Today it is the opposite, Uribe attends a meeting under Petro’s terms and assuming that in a democracy it was very feasible to lose power and that is what happened”.
“I humbly told him: President, allow me a dialogue channel with you, I will not bother you much, it will be to talk about country issues. What we can approve we will do without calculations”@AlvaroUribeVel talks about requesting a dialogue channel with president-elect Gustavo Petro pic.twitter.com/GbZThdbP1K
— Democratic Center (@CeDemocratico) June 29, 2022
In fact, Uribe told the press after the meeting that he had a personal reason to be grateful for the meeting. “My situation is difficult and our party that we love so much was the first in the Senate and today it is the fourth. All of this must be known and recognized,” he said.
The analyst also believes that this meeting may be the first call for Uribe “measuring the oil” of Gustavo Petro, to determine who will be the opponent most visible of his party and who from the Legislative will take the direct voices against the official caucus. In addition, as a political message, both make a move of institutional recognition and the commitment to strengthen democracy.
“For Petro it is a symbolic victory to have a meeting with Álvaro Uribe, this to the extent that he was his adversary since the 90s and opposed him from all fronts. Now, for Uribe a great strategist and connoisseur of politics, It will be important to determine the position from which the voices against the government will be given, knowing that he can once again capitalize on the discontent that a leftist government has and swing the pendulum back to the right, something similar to what he did in 2014. -2018 where he led the Democratic Center bench to the victory of Ivan Dukesays the analyst.
Regarding the role of the Democratic Center as an opposition, Uribe mentioned that the party will support issues of the elderly without calculation, solving poverty problems “without affecting the private sector”: “In many issues it will seek to present alternatives and in those issues as an opposition force . On my part, there must be respect and arguments to nurture the permanent opening of a dialogue channel with the President and my colleagues with the benches and the ministers”.
“The country has witnessed a truly historic moment. However, behind the scenes of the meeting, it must be said that it had 3 central issues: first, the treatment that President Gustavo Petro will give to the opposition, particularly the figure of Álvaro Uribe Vélez. Of non-persecution and treatment of all the members of the Democratic Center that is respectful and of an opposition that is qualified as constructive,” Miguel Jaramillo, a consultant in political marketing and government, told EL TIEMPO’s first coffee.
And he adds: “Second, two issues that came up at the meeting: the issue of climate change and the issue of tax reform. The Democratic Center present there with the two spokespersons for Senate and House He explained his concerns regarding the tax reform, regarding foreign investment. In the table of almost 3 hours it has been expressed that there is an opening to dialogue and that there is something constructive”.