Colombia’s Petro: Americas’ democratic pact is in danger

Santiago, Jan 9 (EFE).- Colombian President Gustavo Petro said Monday in Chile that “the democratic pact of the Americas is in danger” and that the extreme right “doesn’t want democracy.”

“Democracy is in danger. The democratic pact of the Americas is in danger because it’s not just a South American problem. The same thing that happened in Brazil happened in Washington,” said the Colombian leader, who is on an official visit to Chile.

Petro said that the extreme right “is attacking” democracy because it “allows the diversity of our populations, for blacks, for indigenous peoples, for the community, for the peasant … to be able to be the owners of our own countries.”

“Latin America’s road is irreversibly democratic,” he added at the La Moneda presidential palace, speaking alongside his Chilean host and counterpart, Gabriel Boric.

Petro, who on Sunday on the social networks expressed his support for Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and called for an emergency meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) to discuss the attack by supporters of ultrarightist Brazilian ex-President Jair Bolsonaro on the three branches of government in Brasilia, said that there are “forces” that “would like to return Latin America to the times of (former Chilean President Salvador) Allende,” who was toppled in a military coup 50 years ago.

“The democratic pact has to reestablish itself. The right and the left have to know that no matter who wins by the decision of the people, they will not be exiled or persecuted or imprisoned for their ideas, that nobody must die for what they believe, that they can be in Latin America,” he added.

Both Boric and Petro on Jan. 1 attended the leftist Lula’s inauguration, with all three leaders having similar ideological stances.

Thousands of followers of Bolsonaro who do not recognize the results of the Oct. 30 presidential runoff election in Brazil, when Lula defeated Bolsonaro’s reelection bid, on Sunday afternoon invaded the headquarters of the Brazilian presidency, the national legislature and the Supreme Court.

The demonstrators, who were seeking to topple Lula, caused extensive damage, destroyed furniture and other items, including artwork in some of the offices in the buildings.

The situation on Monday, however, is under control after Brazilian security forces arrested some 300 of the demonstrators and another 1,200 on Monday have withdrawn to the camp they have maintained outside the army’s Main Barracks since the runoff vote initially calling for the military to take control of the government to prevent Lula’s inauguration but since Jan. 1 calling for a coup d’etat to remove him from office.

EFE mmm/bp

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