After weeks of rumors, the former Congressman of the Pacto Historico, Gustavo Bolivar, has officially announced his candidacy for the mayorship of Bogota. Bolivar resigned from his position as a senator in December of last year and is the government party’s choice to succeed Claudia Lopez as the leader of the Colombian capital.
Writer and politician
Born in Girardot in 1966, Bolivar is a renowned scriptwriter in Colombia. In 1997, he wrote his first book “El candidato,” but it is his role as the author of scripts for well-known TV dramas that has earned him the most recognition. “Sin tetas no hay paraíso” and “El capo” are two of his most celebrated works. Bolivar has also ventured into the world of music. He is a composer, along with other musicians, of some songs in “Sin tetas no hay paraíso” and other TV dramas he has worked on.
It was not until 2011 that he made his first foray into politics. As president of the “Fundación Manos Limpias,” he became the spokesperson for a movement denouncing corruption. In 2018, he obtained his first political position. After running for the Senate with the Decentes candidacy, backed by Colombia Humana, he secured a seat with over 122,000 votes. In 2022, he led the coalition Pacto Historico in the same chamber, but he decided to resign from the position at the end of the year.
Gustavo Bolivar’s political positions have traditionally generated both strong support and strong reactions from his critics. The now candidate for mayor of the capital represents the most militant left in Colombia. His appointment has generated, as expected, reactions from both sides.
Reactions to the appointment
As the candidate of Gustavo Petro’s government coalition, reactions to his appointment have not been delayed. Politicians close to the President of Colombia have reacted positively. For example, left-wing politician and former candidate for mayor of the capital in 2015, Clara Lopez, wrote on her social media that she was “enthusiastically accompanying Gustavo Bolivar’s candidacy launch as the sole candidate of Pacto Historico.”
Another reaction in the same line was published by congresswoman Martha Peralta, from the same government coalition. “You have our full support from MAIS. Bogota deserves social inclusion, multimodal mobility, and the protection of wetlands and public companies. Let’s go for the victory,” she wrote on her Twitter account.
On the opposite side, journalist Diego Santos wrote, “Gustavo Bolívar says that politicians are not experts in anything. That the key is to surround themselves well. I imagine he must have learned from Gustavo Petro, a role model to follow in good networking.”
In the same line, lawyer and Twitter user Daniel Briceño described the appointment as “bad news.” “With Bolívar, major infrastructure projects, such as the First Metro Line, are at risk. He doesn’t know the city, hates the police, and rewards criminals,” he added, ending his tweet with an explicit “he must be defeated.”
Difficult path to a unified government coalition candidacy
Various names had been put forward by the different parties that make up the Pacto Historico government coalition. Council members Heidy Sánchez Barreto and Carlos Carrillo had been strong contenders. Both have participated in the press conference sitting next to the now official candidate.
Sánchez Barreto has not hesitated to show her public support for Bolivar’s candidacy. She wrote, “We will have a mayor in the first round.” Meanwhile, Carlos Carrillo, who also supported Bolivar, has taken several jabs at how his own party, the Polo Democrático, excluded him from the race for mayor.
Finally, Pacto Historico has managed to have a single candidacy, seeking to unify the left-wing vote. However, the path for this coalition has not been easy and has not been free of tensions. In this regard, the scriptwriter of the TV series “Matarife,” Daniel Mendoza, has written a critical tweet about the coalition’s methods.
Mendoza is a prominent critic of the national right-wing. “The Pacto Historico list welcomes the family-run electoral companies that the parties have become,” he wrote.