The Attorney General of Colombia Alejandro Ordóñez has removed Bogotá’s leftist mayor Gustavo Petro from office, and banned him from holding political office again for 15 years. The reason? Petro decided to revamp the city’s trash collection system, and signed into law that a state owned utilities company would be the provider of the service. Ordóñez claims that this move violates the law of free economic competition, because Petro did not give a private corporation the right to compete for the contract. That’s it.
Some are speculating that this move is related to the current peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC, which may soon result in a peace treaty that sees the FARC disarm and become a legal political organization. Petro, who is no sympathizer of the FARC but was himself a guerrilla in the M-19 (disbanded in 1990) and has ideas well to the left of Colombia’s institutionalized right-wing, is seen as a possible candidate for the new matrix of legal leftist forces in a future presidential election. Because the mayorship of Bogotá is “a step away from the presidency,” it is possible that the right-wing is attempting to stave off a possible threat to its rule from a post-FARC left united under Petro.