Colombians in US wanted right-wing losing candidate, got ‘reflection’ of Trump instead

Just as former U.S. President Donald Trump promised, Rodolfo Hernández said he is such a wealthy businessman that he can afford not to receive his government salary if he is elected president.

Like Trump, Hernández has used social media to surprise political pundits with his influence. The BBC and Reuters acknowledged his self-proclaimed “King of TikTok” title.

The 77-year-old former mayor of Bucaramanga is impolite and unpredictable. His similarities with the 45th U.S. president have some observers referring to him as “Trump’s reflection in Colombia.”

Only about 39.6% of Colombian registered voters in the United States participated in Sunday’s presidential election — which resulted in an unexpected runoff election to be held on June 19.

Supporters of Federico Gutierrez, presidential candidate with the Team Colombia coalition, react to unfavorable, partial results on the night of presidential elections in Bogota, Colombia, Sunday, May 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Leonardo Munoz) (Leonardo Munoz/)

Official records show about 64.4% of Colombian voters in the U.S. chose Federico “Fico” Gutierrez, the right-wing 47-year-old former mayor of Medellin. Records show about 16% voted for Sen. Gustavo Petro, the leftist 62-year-old former mayor of Colombia’s capital of Bogotá.

The reality was different in Colombia. The presidential election narrowed to two polar opposites: Hernández, an engineer and entrepreneur, and Petro, an economist and former guerrilla fighter.

Gutierrez, who is a harsh critic of Petro, was among the half a dozen other candidates who fell behind. He announced Monday that he will continue to oppose Petro and stand behind Hernández.

Presidential candidate Gustavo Petro, left, and his running mate Francia Marquez, with the Historical Pact coalition, stand before supporters on election night in Bogota, Colombia, Sunday, May 29, 2022. Their ticket will advance to a runoff contest in June after none of the six candidates in Sunday’s first round got half the vote. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara) (Fernando Vergara/)

Hernández and Petro both selected women who are graduates of the private non-profit Santiago de Cali University as vice-presidential candidates.

Petro chose Francia Márquez, an attorney and 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize winner. The Afro-Colombian former housekeeper became known for her activism against illegal mining.

At the last minute, Hernández selected Marelen Castillo Torres, an academic with a doctorate in education from Nova Southeastern University in South Florida.

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