Is Petro using the May 1 march as a political fight? Analysis

“The Government uses this march as a way to respond to the opposition demonstration that it itself acknowledged through different channels was representative. So, use this May 1 to his advantage and collect the workers in his call, even though some have rejected it.”

This is how Nicolás Garzón, professor of the Political Science program at the Universidad de la Sábana, analyzes: today’s marches in commemoration of Labor Day, called by unions and labor centers, to which President Gustavo Petro to promote support for his projects.

Although this is not the first time that the President has tried to turn the May 1 demonstrations into expressions of support for his mandate, several sectors have already denied their participation to “not play into the Government’s hands,” rejecting the use of this date to favor of the House of Nariño.

“This march is being configured, on the one hand, as has historically happened, to demand labor rights, but there is also the added component that the Executive is shaping these demonstrations to demonstrate its strength in the streets, since in Congress He has seen a relative weakness,” he adds.

Marches May 1st Cali | Photo: Supplied Mauricio Zamora

In fact, participation in the mobilizations has been encouraged from various sectors of the Administration, such as the Ministries of Labor and Environment and the Head of State himself requested approval to put a platform in the Plaza de Bolívar to speak to the country, which it was rejected.

What the mayor of Bogotá, Carlos Fernando Galán, explained is that a platform requested by a labor center had already been approved and that it will be the only one for security reasons.

In that sense, the unions and other sectors that called for the demonstrations should approve the use of their platform by the President.

“Attendance is going to be a little larger than what traditionally occurs on May 1 in the demonstrations, because in the end they are significant days, although it must be said that the unions have lost that representation, although they bring together a very large part of workers in Colombia,” says Garzón.

However, a sector of unionism announced its distancing from the walks, because they do not agree with giving that space to the Government and indicated that they will not take to the streets today or that they will carry out other activities as a sign of protest against the President and in support of the commemoration of Labor Day.

For González, “what is called manipulation of the Government by some union members is that, beyond having independent unionism, they are not associated with a government that does not have broad support in public opinion and with bad streak of the President.”

The CGT is one of the organizations that left the May 1st marches so as not to be exploited by President Petro. | Photo: Photo 1: CGT / Photo 2: Sebastián Barros NurPhoto

According to him, González mentions that “Gustavo Petro will surely seek to counteract the perception that he is unpopular, demonstrating that workers and the segment of the informal class, who have a special chapter in social reforms to improve their conditions, favor his agenda.” of projects”.

For this reason, they note that the Casa de Nariño would hope to have a broad call to generate pressure and get Congress and the other political actors in the country to favor these flagship initiatives of the Government.

Central, divided

“Before it was seen that the workers’ confederations were united with these demonstrations called by Gustavo Petro, but today there is distance between some that declare themselves democratic and pluralist. In that sense, they deviate from the guidelines of structural reforms that the Executive has put up for discussion in Congress and of which only the pension is having a progressive development.

That is the description of what is happening between labor centers and unions, regarding today’s demonstrations, according to Henry Amorocho, professor of Public Finance and Taxation at the Universidad del Rosario.

President Gustavo Petro and the marches this Sunday, April 21, against him.
President Gustavo Petro and the marches this Sunday, April 21, against him. | Photo: WEEK

“It is expected that a halo of different manifestations will form that will then be transferred to Congress so that the Legislative and Executive powers can rule on truly reconciled decisions,” he adds.

In fact, Jorge Espinosa Pérez, president of the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) Bogotá-Cundinamarca, said that the union should be “autonomous, pluralistic and independent.”

This is one of those federations that is divided into two sectors: those who support President Petro and those who want to maintain their independence from him. The latter claim to have leadership by majorities achieved in a recent convention.

On the one hand, there is the official faction, led by Percy Oyola and close to the Government and, on the other hand, the ‘dissidence’, chaired by Miryam Luz Triana and the Antioquia federation of the CGT.

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