Who is Rodolfo Hernández?

Rodolfo Hernandez has been referred to as a ‘populist’ and ‘outsider’ by Colombian and international media. Now he’ll head into the presidential runoff vote against Gustavo Petro as the official uribista candidate after coming second with 28% of the vote. The millionaire construction magnate has also been compared to Trump both for his brash style and right-wing politics.

His party is called the Liga de Gobernantes Anticorrupción, the ‘League of Anti-Corruption Governors’, which he founded and which claims to have no ideology but whose rhetoric is traditionally right-wing, with talk about how the state must be ‘like a private business’ and eliminate external debt through ‘efficiency’, a conservative talking point to mean austerity.

He was the mayor of Bucaramanga, Santander, and is being investigated for possible corruption in municipal contracts for garbage collection, the trial for which has been set for after the elections. 

However, it’s his brash style that earned his ‘populist’ label. He once slapped an opposition city councilor during a session, threatened to have a man killed for tarnishing the reputation of his construction company, and with regard to Venezuelans in Colombia he said, “beggars, prostitutes and the unemployed are arriving from Venezuela” and that Venezuelan women are “factories for making poor children”. In one interview he said that he was an admirer of Adolf Hitler, afterwards claiming that he had a momentary lapse and actually meant Albert Einstein.

Though he rages against the existing political class, he is a long-time ally of far-right ex-president Alvaro Uribe who backed Hernández’s election campaign in Bucaramanga.

In one interview, Hernández said of Uribe, “I do appreciate him. Uribe helped me. Not the Democratic Center. It was him when he heard my speech and invited me to the Hotel Chicamocha. That was on March 26, 2015. He told his supporters ‘he who wants to accompany me has to vote for Rodolfo.’ I owe him a debt of gratitude.”

By Kawsachun News

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