Thousands Protest in Colombia Against President Petro's Proposed Reforms

Thousands of Colombians protest leftist President Petro's proposed reforms, highlighting the challenges he faces in implementing his ambitious agenda amid growing opposition.

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Nitish Verma
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Thousands Protest in Colombia Against President Petro's Proposed Reforms

Thousands Protest in Colombia Against President Petro's Proposed Reforms

Thousands of Colombians took to the streets on Sunday to protest against leftist President Gustavo Petro's proposed social reform agenda and the possibility of rewriting the constitution. The demonstrations took place in several cities, including the capital Bogota, where protesters filled Bolivar Plaza outside the presidential palace.

Petro, a former leftist guerrilla who took office in 2022, has faced constant protests and opposition from a hostile congress and conservative business groups in his efforts to advance social reforms. The protests have gained momentum recently as Petro has floated the idea of rewriting the constitution to spur his reform agenda, which he has been unable to achieve through the legislative process.

The president recently suffered a defeat when Colombia's congress refused to pass legislation to boost state control of the country's healthcare system. In response, Petro ordered the takeover of two of the country's top medical insurers by decree, affecting millions of Colombians who depend on them.

Protesters, estimated at around 70,000 in Bogota alone, chanted "out with Petro" and expressed concerns about the impact of the proposed reforms on the country's already-struggling economy. Medical associations, opposition groups, and even some former allies of Petro urged people to demonstrate against his policies.

Why this matters: The protests, the largest against Petro since he took office, highlight the challenges facing the first leftist president in Colombia's history as he tries to implement an ambitious reform agenda. The outcome could have significant implications for the future direction of the country and its economy.

Petro accused the protesters of attempting a "soft coup" to thwart his reforms and called for a massive pro-government march on May 1. However, his popularity has plummeted, with 70% of Colombians saying the situation in the country is "getting worse" according to recent polls. Petro has lost legislative majorities since his inauguration in 2022 and faces an uphill battle to advance his agenda in the face of growing opposition.

Key Takeaways

  • Thousands of Colombians protested against Petro's proposed social reforms and constitution rewrite.
  • Petro faces constant opposition from Congress and conservative groups in advancing his agenda.
  • Petro's decree to take over medical insurers sparked further protests against his policies.
  • Protesters expressed concerns about the impact of Petro's reforms on Colombia's struggling economy.
  • Petro's popularity has plummeted, with 70% of Colombians saying the situation is "getting worse".