Colombian President Petro Faces Protests, Pushes for Constituent Assembly Amid 'Soft Coup' Claims

Protests erupt in Colombia as leftist President Petro pushes for sweeping reforms, facing opposition from conservative groups and institutions. The outcome could significantly impact the country's future.

author-image
Trim Correspondents
Updated On
New Update
Colombian President Petro Faces Protests, Pushes for Constituent Assembly Amid 'Soft Coup' Claims

Colombian President Petro Faces Protests, Pushes for Constituent Assembly Amid 'Soft Coup' Claims.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro is facing widespread protests against his reform agenda, with thousands of Colombians taking to the streets in recent demonstrations. Petro, a former leftist guerrilla who took office in 2022, has proposed rewriting the constitution to push for social reforms, but has faced opposition from a hostile congress and conservative business groups.

The protests have been a constant since Petro assumed the presidency, but have gained momentum recently as he shifts focus to the concept of 'constituent power' to push for a constituent assembly to approve his desired reforms, despite the obvious challenges in making this a reality. Petro has coined the term 'soft coup' to describe his opponents' strategy to hinder his governance.

On April 21, 2024, tens of thousands of Colombians, including retired military personnel, marched in Bogota and other cities to demonstrate against Petro's agenda. The protesters voiced their opposition to Petro's proposed reforms in the health, retirement, employment, and prison sectors.

Why this matters: The ongoing protests and political tensions in Colombia highlight the challenges faced by leftist leaders in implementing reforms in the face of opposition from conservative groups and institutions. The outcome of this struggle could have significant implications for the future direction of the country and the region.

Petro recently suffered a defeat when the Colombian congress refused to pass legislation to increase state control of the healthcare system. In response, he ordered the takeover of two major medical insurers by decree, affecting millions of Colombians. The government is expected to propose a new version of the health reform once the new legislative session begins in July, while pension and labor reforms are still being debated by lawmakers.

Key Takeaways

  • Colombian President Petro faces widespread protests against his reform agenda.
  • Petro proposes rewriting the constitution to push for social reforms, faces opposition.
  • Tens of thousands protest Petro's reforms in health, retirement, employment, and prisons.
  • Petro suffers defeat as Congress refuses to pass healthcare reform, takes over insurers.
  • Protests unite both Petro supporters and opponents, political tensions remain high.