The ongoing Marxist takeover of Latin America netted its biggest prize so far this month when Colombia elected a former terrorist as president. This onslaught, long in the making, threatens our national security and is peaking when we can least afford it—at a time of nonexistent leadership in Washington.
Gustavo Petro, a former M-19 guerrilla and controversial Bogota mayor, now leads this key U.S. regional ally, following a narrow victory—he won 50.48 percent of the vote—over populist candidate Rodolfo Hernandez on June 19.
Petro has promised to “democratize” unproductive private land—Newspeak euphemisms for land grabs—to redistribute private pensions, and to halt new oil and gas production (because he also understands that environmental extremism is another way to gut capitalism). He insists that he will not outright expropriate land but that the government will hike taxes on landholdings that it considers unproductive and that, if the owner can’t pay, he will forfeit it to the government.
Communists understand perfectly well what he means. The Marxist website “In Defense of Marxism” called Petro’s victory “a turning point in the class struggle of a country in which the capitalist oligarchy has typically played the role of executioner with impunity.”
In Caracas, Nicolás Maduro, whose Marxist dictatorship has ruined Venezuela, duly announced that a “new era” was starting in the neighboring country. So did former U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose term in leadership was tainted by anti-Semitism. “Incredible news from Colombia with the election of a socialist president, who has shown the power of community organizing,” tweeted Corbyn.
Colombia, they all get, is now finally firmly in the revolutionary orbit, ready to be an ally to China, Russia, Iran, Cuba, and all other U.S. enemies.
Maduro and his Havana bosses are entitled to something of a victory lap. His predecessor, Hugo Chávez, was a mentor to Petro, who brought Chávez to Bogota in 1994, five years before Chávez’s own election. Petro was then a member of parliament, his M-19 narco-terrorist group having disbanded in a 1990 amnesty.
Colombia’s Marxist-terrorist-narcotrafficking complex became a key ally to Chávez, and then to Maduro, after Chávez’s death in 2013. As Insight Crime puts it, Colombia’s cartels push “cocaine through Venezuela on its journey to U.S. and European markets, while Venezuela’s contraband fuel has gushed in the other direction.” Petro has also long been a member in good standing in the Foro de São Paulo, a Marxist group of governments and nonstate actors, which helps as a coordinating nexus.
The outgoing Colombian government of Iván Duque obviously resented Venezuela’s interference in his country’s affairs. When President Trump threw his support for Maduro’s opponent Juan Guaidó in 2019, U.S. allies Colombia, Chile, and Ecuador supported Trump’s policy. Maduro promised revenge by visiting instability on his neighbors.
“We are headed towards a Bolivarian hurricane,” Diosdado Cabello, a Maduro ally in the National Assembly in Venezuela, said ominously in October 2019. “It cannot be stopped by absolutely anyone. What is happening in Peru, what is happening in Chile, what is happening in Argentina, what is happening in Honduras, in Ecuador is just a little breeze. A hurricane is what is to come. It is absolutely impossible that Colombia remains how it is. It is absolutely impossible that Brazil remains how it is. There is no way.”
Five of those have now fallen, and all in the same manner: Some event creates a spark for demonstrations that sweep the nation, all coordinated through social media. U.S. researcher Doug Farrah described what happened to Chile (which just elected another Marxist as president) in 2019, pointing out that “it was not just discontent from growing inequality that sustained Chile’s unrest. One exacerbating factor was the use of social media, specifically Twitter, where accounts from outside of Chile were fueling the flames of discontent.”
>>> Nicolás the Woke
Farah’s analysis of 4.8 million tweets from 639,000 Twitter accounts in favor of the protests in Chile during the peak of the unrest found that most of the accounts were not Chilean but Venezuelan, Nicaraguan, and Cuban. On the other hand, the vast majority of tweets against the protests were Chilean.
In the case of Colombia, the unrest came in 2021, and it followed the same pattern. Huge protests led to instability that benefited Petro at the polls. He is now ready to pay his debt. Less than 72 hours after the election, he announced that he will reestablish relations with Maduro and reopen the border with Venezuela.
This matters. Colombia is the U.S.’s most important ally in Latin America. The largest recipient of U.S. security assistance in the hemisphere, Colombia has received over 2 million Venezuelan migrants fleeing the neighboring socialist dictatorship, serving as a buffer for the U.S. southern border. The Andean nation has twice the population of Venezuela and unique access to Central America and to both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans.
Unlike Reagan, who came to the aid of democracies in Latin America when they were equally threatened by communists, Biden is unlikely to do anything. He is beholden to groups such as Black Lives Matter, whose members support Maduro and attend Foro de São Paulo meetings.
All this poses another global challenge at the worst possible time.
This piece originally appeared in The National Review