A ‘Hard-Leftist’ Leads Colombia’s Presidential Race

With Colombia’s presidential election just over three months away, a “hard leftist” former guerrilla is leading in polls, and investors haven’t yet fully woken up to the risk that he might win, according to Nomura.

When they do, the nation’s bonds and currency are likely to sell off, according to Mario Castro, a Latin America FX and Rates Strategist at Nomura in New York. Two polls published this month show Gustavo Petro in first place, while another has him running second.

“The markets are very complacent, and short-termist,” Castro said in a phone interview. “It’s clear that there’s a tail risk that he could be president.” …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years, continued progress in these areas has been threatened, not least by the radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and elsewhere. These governments have instituted retrograde agendas that include the propagation of class warfare, state domination of the economy, assaults on private property, anti-Americanism, support for such international pariahs as Iran, Russia, and even transnational criminal organizations.

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