Finance Colombia Video News Recap: What will happen in tomorrow’s presidential elections?

Some good news from the industry, travel and high tech sectors, more on the eve of the second round of the Colombian presidential election, a bit of analysis. Are Colombians really choosing between “the devil and the deep blue sea,” as the WSJ’s Mary Anastasia O’Grady put it?

Friends and colleagues, welcome to the first roundup of Colombian economic news presented by Finance Colombia. My name is Loren Moss and I’ve been covering Colombian business and investment news since 2014. Let’s get started.

Last week, based in Barranquilla Tecnoglass, which trades under the symbol TGLS moved from NASDAQ to the New York Stock Exchange. As stock markets in the United States continue to convulse, Tecnoglass’ underlying financial results are very strong, with the company breaking quarterly and annual records for revenue and net profit.

This last Wednesday, Viva low cost carrier launched its non-stop service between Medellín and Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was a very proud moment for CEO Felix Antelo, who happens to be Argentinian himself.

Artificial Intelligence Society Cognitive flow officially launched its low-code solution that allows non-programmers to use artificial intelligence to solve scientific and practical challenges without coding. Cogniflow has leadership based in Colombia, Uruguay and the United States.

Vostock Capital Oil and Gas Congress will take place next Thursday and Friday, the 23rd and 24e June at the DoubleTree by Hilton Salitre in Bogotá. I’ll be hosting a few panels, so if you’re attending as well, be sure to say hello!

Tomorrow, Sunday June 19, Colombians will go to the polls to elect their next president. Tonight at 6 p.m., all land borders inside and outside Colombia will be closed until Monday morning. Alcohol sales will also stop from this afternoon until Monday; the said Ley Seca common in many Latin American countries during elections.

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Tomorrow’s second round of elections will pit Gustavo Petro, a far-left armed ex-guerrilla, former mayor of Bogotá and current senator, against Rodolfo Hernandez, a successful real estate developer and former mayor of Bucaramanga, a populist who does not fit in easily into a left/right political categorization.

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Mary Anastasia O Grady of The Wall Street Journal had an interesting take on these elections, she said Colombians are choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Now, I’m not going to call anyone a devil just yet, but I think what she means by that is that we have a candidate for whom you know exactly what you’re getting based on his background, and the other candidate, the alternative, where you don’t really know what to expect.

Petro said he plans to nationalize future pension contributions that currently go into a variety of privately run pension funds, as well as a government option, chosen by Colombian workers. He said he wants to end new oil production in Colombia, where about half of the country’s foreign exchange comes from oil exports, he wants to raise tariffs on imported food because he thinks it will help Colombian farmers, impose rent controls on residential housing, print money to finance public spending – which, of course, would cause the peso to collapse and inflation to skyrocket, he wants to renegotiate concessions mining companies, calling foreign mining companies operating in the country “predatory”.

Petro’s words, translated here of course:

“I proposed to stop oil exploration. Colombia must leave 80% of the coal deposits underground and this deserves a whole transition program. When oil exploration stops, we have 12 years of reserves. If we stop exporting, we have 12 years during which reserves will support domestic demand for oil.

On the other hand, we have Rodolfo Hernandez, a crass anti-establishment real estate developer who loves his social media accounts a lot. For those of you from the United States, this kind of profile sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Hernandez is from Bucaramanga, a lovely 2n/a-third Colombian city of about one million inhabitants. He built a real estate empire specializing in subsidized social housing projects where units were sold to moderate-income residents with government support. He served 3 years of a 4-year term as mayor of the city, stepping down a year earlier after being suspended for slapping a councilman. Hernandez ran on an anti-corruption platform, but he is being investigated for allegedly running a contract with a friend of his son. When he left office in Bucaramanga, he had an approval rating of 80%.

Hernandez declined to participate in one of the first presidential debates, but built a base of followers from his Tik Tok account. He supports the legalization of drugs and the treatment of drug addiction as a public health issue. He supports the legalization of euthanasia, he wants to restore relations with neighboring Venezuela and reform the police. Even though his father was kidnapped and his daughter was allegedly kidnapped and killed by the leftist ELN guerrillas, he supports the 2016 peace process and wants to offer a negotiated peace to the ELN as the ex-president Juan Manuel Santos did it with the FARC.

He also thinks abortion should be legal, so he doesn’t really follow the typical conservative pattern. Although he’s somewhat of a big unknown, as a successful developer the business community isn’t as scared of him as Petro, who has been very clear about his antagonisms and sympathies.

Polls show a very tight race tomorrow. We don’t know who will win, but we know whoever it is, Colombians will have a lot of drama at Casa Nariño, which is like Colombia’s version of The White House or 10 Downing Street, for the next four years.

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Petro’s own words

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