A prominent socialist and former guerrilla member from Colombia gave offered an endorsement of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
“Well,” Petro replied, “if I could vote, which I cannot, I’m not a citizen of the United States. But if I could vote in the United States, in the interest of my Latin-American people, I would vote for Biden, without a doubt.”
Petro formerly served as the mayor of Bogotá and had two failed presidential bids in 2010 and 2018.
American Enterprise Institute research fellow Ryan C. Berg told the Washington Free Beacon that Petro is “closely associated with the '21st Century Socialism' movement of Hugo Chávez and other leftist leaders in Latin America.”
Colombian-American activist Fabio Andrade did not take well to Petro's endorsement of Biden as he found it "offensive."
"We’re offended, it’s very simple. Knowing what we know about this terrorist, a person that has the blood of Colombians on his hands," Andrade told the Free Beacon. "This endorsement is pathetic and very dangerous."
Berg added that Petro's endorsement would further add to “Trump's rhetoric that Democrats are happy to be associated with socialists in foreign countries and thereby hurt Biden with Hispanic voters in key swing states such as Florida.”
"Just as Biden is entering the party convention and needs to balance between moderate and progressive voices in the Democratic Party, Petro's endorsement pops up and provides Trump with another chance to equate a vote for Biden with socialism in Latin America," Berg asserted.
Trump campaign spokeswoman Mercedes Schlapp echoed Berg sentiments.
"By endorsing Joe Biden, socialist Gustavo Petro has confirmed what millions of Hispanics already know: A vote for Joe Biden is a vote for the ‘progressive’ Castrochavista ideology that Petro and other Latin American socialists promote and that Biden has embraced," Schlapp said.
Petro used to be part of the now-defunct M19 (the April 19 movement), a radical left guerilla faction that was founded on April 19, 1970, by a group of college students. The Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium (TRAC) described M19 as the “second-largest guerrilla group in Colombia.”
In the fall of 1985, M19 carried out an assault on Columbia’s Palace of Justice in Bogotá. Business Insider reports that hundreds of civilians were taken hostage as well as the court’s 25 justices.
Additionally, M19’s invasion was allegedly supported by Pablo Escobar, Colombia’s most powerful drug lord.
The Colombian army was eventually able to recover the building, but by the end of the conflict, nearly all of the 30 to 40 of M19 members were killed, handfuls of civilians were killed or “disappeared” and 11 of the 25 court justices were also killed, Business Insider reports.
Petro was sentenced to 18 months in prison on charges of weapons possession.
According to TRAC, M19 is listed under its “left-wing terrorist groups” classification, which includes organizations that advocate Maoism, Marxism, communism, and socialism.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla/Staff
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.