Column by Mauricio Vargas – Stormy winds – Columnists – Opinion

Gustavo Petro’s government ship is going through a storm. For the first time in seven months in office, the president navigates with a negative balance of opinion: both in Datexco and Invamer, half of those surveyed disapprove of his management. In Datexco, that rejection is 48%, and in Invamer it rises to 51%, while in both polls the approval is 40%, which marks, in the case of Invamer, 16 points lost since August.

It is not the only bad news that the polls bring to Petro. In the very complete Invamer, 67% of those surveyed say that things in the country are getting worse, against 48% who said the same in August: almost 20 points more in that negative perception. The so-called Total Peace, a key initiative of the President, is not convincing: 49% believe that it is going astray against 39% who think that it is going well.

Even on the subject of the Bogotá metro, Petro is doing badly: 53% prefer the elevated metro, already under construction, than the expensive and time-consuming subway that the President insists on (40%). And as for the assessment of the main mayors, Petro’s friends lose: with 51% rejection, Daniel Quintero, from Medellín, gets the worst result in 30 years of surveys in that city; and Jorge I. Ospina, from Cali, is disapproved by 71%!

At the same time, the President has just been hit with the reality of the limited control he has in Congress. The non-petrista parties of the coalition (Liberal, ‘la U’ and Conservative) oppose the very destructive reform of the health system proposed by the minsalud, Carolina Corcho. Without those votes, the law will not pass through Congress, since the Historical Pact and its left allies, by themselves, are not a majority.

In the same week, Petro discovered that the high courts are not going to let him pass even one of those frivolousness that his lazy legal advisers usually incur. The Council of State suspended the decree with which it intended to assume control of public services, especially in terms of tariffs, which the law grants to commissions such as the Creg. And in the Constitutional Court, everything indicates that key sections of the Total Peace law –already questioned by the Prosecutor, with sensitive complaints– are declared unconstitutional. The President has just discovered that, for now, in Colombia the separation of powers is still alive.

But there is no wedge that tightens more than that of the same stick: the worst news reached the president from the sides of his family. His son Nicolás was seriously marked this Thursday in an interview that his wife (or ex-wife), Day Vásquez, gave to the director of WeekVicky Dávila.

With accurate data, it reveals that Petro jr. He received hundreds of millions of pesos in cash and a luxurious truck from an ex-convict for drug trafficking and two powerful contractors. Although she says that this happened behind the President’s back, she mentions actions by Nicolás Petro that are very similar to improper efforts in the Seine, the Minminas and even in the Casa de Nariño.

In addition to his son’s scandal, Petro is losing ground in Congress, the courts and the polls

Everything is much more delicate because Nicolás Petro acted in it as a public servant: since 2020 he has been a deputy to the Atlantic Assembly. Illicit enrichment of official? Influence peddling? Undue interest in contracts?

These efforts are very similar to everything his father denounced for decades, even if the current president has ever been videotaped while receiving chuspas with several million pesos in cash, in figures much lower –it is fair to say– than those attributed to his son. .

And if we add to all this unemployment and rising inflation? With the presidential ship tossed by such stormy winds, perhaps the dismissed mineducator, Alejandro Gaviria – whose alleged disloyalties are ridiculous compared to those of Nicolás Petro – will end up thanking the president for having thrown him out of the cabinet.

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(Read all the columns by Mauricio Vargas in EL TIEMPO, here)