Federico Gutiérrez, the candidate who seeks to stop the rise of Gustavo Petro in Colombia

BOGOTA.– Federico Gutiérrez likes to be called Fico, closer, more familiar, “the people’s candidate”, as the main slogan of his presidential campaign says. And that, his closeness to the people, almost always walking the streets of the country with a smile on his face, is one of the main virtues of the youngest of the candidates in the first presidential round to be held next Sunday in Colombia, the first step for the historic turn predicted by the polls.Another slogan, “I ‘identify’”, is more than a wink among his own, who define this civil engineer turned politician as a “bacán”, who in Colombia represents the good and attractive guys. Gutiérrez maintains a medium length of hair very much from his native Medellín and a soft, almost mellow accent, without stridency. to the political arena. His conclusive victory in March in the primaries of Team Por Colombia (center-right) has since transformed him into the anti-Petro (Gustavo Petro) of the coffee country, the main rival of the left-wing standard-bearer, the great favorite. The man who can save Colombia according to Uribism and the national right.“I represent the opposite of Petro,” Gutiérrez assured since he made his candidacy public last year. Months later, as soon as his victory in March was known, the candidate of the Uribista Democratic Center resigned to formalize his support for Fico, who has also joined his candidacy with the two traditional parties, the Conservative Party and the Democratic Party. Liberal. “Either we unite or we get screwed,” Fico repeats like a mantra to scare Colombians with the arrival at the Casa de Nariño of former guerrilla Petro.Gutiérrez abandons his “cool” pose when it is time to attack his rival from the Historical Pact and his “authoritarian and populist project”, “friend of the FARC” and the Chavista revolution. “I have never wielded a weapon, unlike you, and we are said to be the masters of war,” Fico threw at his rival during one of the campaign debates.All this makes him the candidate of the Colombian establishment and of the government itself in the face of a challenge that at the moment seems impossible. To encourage himself, Gutiérrez recalls how he became mayor of Medellín in 2015, endorsed by citizen signatures and not by a party, and always far below in the polls.Supporters of the presidential candidate Federico Gutiérrez It is evident that Gutiérrez enjoys climbing the great summits, where he trains when he can with his bicycle, the favorite sport of the paisas. One of his main supporters has come from the world of cycling, that of Egan Bernal, a national hero after winning the Tour de France, who came out in defense of him against the attack he suffered on social networks: “I continue to believe that Fico Gutiérrez is the best option for Colombia.”Hundreds and hundreds of insults fell on the cyclist, they even accused him of charging money for his position, but Bernal, who looks like titanium, did not back down: “If Fico is Duque2 (Iván Duque, Colombian president), could you say that the “little old man” (Rodolfo Hernández) is Trump2? And Petro is (Hugo) Chávez2?”. Beyond his goodness or strengths, Fico does not finish convincing the voter who fears the historical arrival of the left to power, especially with Petro at the helm. That explains the rise in the last days of the anti-corruption outsider Hernández, because until now “Fico does not fill the glass, he is facing a possible electoral stagflation”, explains to LA NACION, under anonymity, one of the star advisers of past electoral campaigns. The political scientist Jorge Giraldo, dean of Humanities at the Eafit University of Medellín, also perceives certain weaknesses in the candidacy of Fico Gutiérrez, and the hitherto powerful Colombian right, which “currently lacks the strength to impose itself.” If anything, yes friends and enemies recognize him is his honesty. Even Petro, in the debate held last Monday, stressed that he had not been prosecuted, although he repeated that his Secretary of Security in Medellín was convicted of his links with one of the mafia groups in the Paisa capital. Fico defends himself by assuring that his former official was singled out for not denouncing extortion. Security is precisely one of the flags of his campaign, which provided such good dividends during his management in Medellín: ended with an 80% positive imagejoining the group of mayors (Sergio Fajardo, also a candidate, or Alonso Salazar) who have joined to turn the paisa capital into one of the urban jewels of the region. In this pulse of former mayors, it far exceeds Petro, former mayor of Bogotá, criticized for his mismanagement of the capital. Another thing will be Sunday’s battle at the polls, where according to the polls he starts with a disadvantage of between 10% and 15%. “This is like climbing, like a mountain stage,” said Fico, so optimistic that he even bets on climbing the Tourmalet and defeating Petro in the first round.

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