It is common to hear that Iván Duque, the protege of former president Álvaro Uribe Vélez, is the candidate of the rich, and that Gustavo Petro, meanwhile, is the savior of the poor. Basically, this idea is nothing more than the old belief that the Left has popularized that the most needy must vote for socialist proposals while the better off elect the right because they want to continue exploiting the “workers.”
The truth is that surveys show that Colombians in “estratos” 1 and 2 (those with fewer economic resources) prefer Iván Duque. And those who have less wealth and are thinking about voting for the Centro Democratico, are absolutely right. I will explain in this article why it is precisely the poorest who have the most reasons to choose Duque. Let me clarify beforehand, that Uribe’s candidate is far from perfect. However, he is the best option in 2018, and has made clear that he understands the importance of private property.
The ex-guerrilla Gustavo Petro peppers his speeches with promises of handouts and allusions to class struggle, and although he is not leading in the polls, he is still able to to seduce a considerable chunk of the electorate. Petro speaks openly about expropriating. In an interview given to one of the most important radio stations in the country, he assured that it is necessary to take land away from those who are not using it properly. On that occasion he clarified that he was not referring to small land holdings, but to large land plots that were not fulfilling their social function.
The pretext of “social function” is certainly nothing more than an excuse to end private property. Recently, in the middle of a speech in Cauca, he was more specific, assuring that if he is president he will ask Carlos Ardila Lülle, one of the most important businessmen in the country, to sell him his sugar company, Incauca.
He also stated that: “It would be a nice gesture, once Colombia Humana is the new government, to hand Incauca over to the state so that it can be run in cooperation with the small and medium agricultural producers in order to industrialize them in Colombia.”
Petro, who is currently running second in the polls, is looking for a path to victory with the same old socialist idea: take from the rich to give to the poor. While openly talking about expropriation, he also promises free education, subsidies, and state-run healthcare for all. But, although he denies it, that is the same “master plan” that has brought poverty to Cuba and Venezuela: the proposal is simply socialism.
Now, the left has managed to promote, with some success, the idea that socialism is good for the poor because nobody dies of hunger. Lies!
In Venezuela basic consumer products are subsidized, there is “free” education and healthcare, but people die of hunger and diseases as simple as bronchitis. There is also public education, but where has it gotten them? When I see Petro proclaiming that he is going to offer “quality education, free and universal,” and the young people praise and applaud his proposal, I wonder if they have not seen what happens with the Venezuelan or Cuban professionals who live in the country: absolute misery!
In the beginning of a Petro government, the poorest may benefit from subsidies and redistribution, but it won’t be long before the monthly salary doesn’t even buy a frozen chicken, as is the case in Venezuela. Socialism works until the money of those who produce wealth runs out; then there is only one population condemned to slavery and misery, and a multi-millionaire tyrant in power.
Yes, the richest, the entrepreneurs, can leave at any time. They have the knowledge, contacts, and experience to start their life in a new land far away from socialism. It is the poorest people who will invariably be trapped in the socialist hell. Today, in Venezuela there is only a very small minority that wants to stay, but most people simply do not have the means to leave.
Ultimately, no one benefits more than the poor if Duque wins the presidency; a candidate who defends private property and understands the importance of entrepreneurship. It is in a capitalist system that the poorest have the greatest chance of getting ahead. A country full of entrepreneurs is a rich country, where there is work and where people thrive when they work hard.
Nothing has brought more poor people out of misery than capitalism. Those who say that the poor will be better off with Petro in the presidency have not realized that when companies close it is not the employer, but the workers, that suffer the most.