Colombia just elected a new president, and Bitcoin is the hope of both his followers and worried opposition.
Who Is Gustavo Petro?
As per the NYTimes, only 58% of Colombia’s 39 million voters showed up to cast vote. With over 50% of the vote, Gustavo Petro was elected president.
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This is a major event for the country. He is their first leftist president, and his economical agenda has been described as “economical suicide”.
As Reuters reported, Petro pledged to “stop new exploration for hydrocarbons and construction of new large-scale open-pit mines, and to put an end to investigative fracking pilots and offshore oil and gas projects, some of which already have contracts.”
He wants the country to transition from oil to renewable energies. Colombia ranks among the largest crude oil producers in Latin America, it is their major export.
Petro’s proposition has been widely criticized, even by worldwide leading members of the left like Brazil’s former president Lula da Silva. Many see this as a nonviable solution, seeing oil and mining as necessary productions for the country’s economy.
Petro has also strongly flirted with the idea of money printing. Last year, he showed support to the U.S.’s FED money printing policy during the Covid pandemic, seeing it as a success. We all know how that is going for the dollar, and it is looking a lot uglier for economies with weaker currencies, like Venezuela’s and Argentina’s.
Money printing is not part of Petro’s official roadmap. A presidential campaign cannot make promises for future actions that would be taken by the Central Bank alone because the entity is independent of the state. However, some opponents have feared that Petro could somehow overtake the Bank’s authority in order to implement said measures.
As their first leftist president, Petro’s populist speech won the sympathy of younger generations and many groups of people who, in poverty and despair, have long waited for a change.
Sadly, we have already seen how such promises can end up being a way to manipulate the masses while creating an economic destabilization that hangs from a long chain of corruption and poorly managed projects. Colombia’s presidential vote was a cry for help, but the people might receive an empty hand in exchange.
All of these worries take us to the main character: bitcoin.
Petro Wants Bitcoin To Remplace Cocaine
One of Petro’s main worries is the country’s production of cocaine. Colombia is the world’s largest producer of this drug. Basically, Petro has bankers, the oil and mining sector, and the most powerful cocaine suppliers against him. It will not be an easy presidency.
But what helped him win?
Petro’s speech included topics often ignored by other politicians in the country, one of which was Bitcoin.
While his opponent Rodolfo Hernández took a stance against suggesting people buy Bitcoin, Petro celebrated El Salvador’s Bitcoin strategy and even proposed for the country to mine Bitcoin instead of producing cocaine. I don’t think that’s a transition the drug cartels will easily accept.
Nevertheless, he has pointed out that Colombia’s energy matrix is already dominated by hydropower, which could help mine Bitcoin with renewable energy.
“What if the Pacific coast took advantage of the steep falls of the rivers of the western mountains to produce all the energy of the coast and replace cocaine with energy for cryptocurrencies?
The cryptocurrency is pure information and therefore energy”, Petro tweeted..
“We can turn the wayú communities, the coal workers of the Cesar region, the black communities of the Colombian pacific coast into owners of these new forms of energy, linked to the computing of cryptocurrencies, and thus we will have a new world.”, Petro stated.
He also claimed to support a few crypto ideals: “Bitcoin removes issuing power from the states and the seigniorage of the currency from the banks. it is a community currency that is based on the trust of those who carry out transactions with it, since it is based on a blockchain, trust is measured and grows, hence its strength.”
But this seems to directly contradict his recurrent proposal of printing money as a solution for the country’s economy.
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The Opponents Also Like BTC
Some cheered the presidential results, and some feared them. Intellectuals, economists, and even bitcoiners around the world keep criticizing his ambitious promises and hope the next 4 years of his presidency won’t turn out to be catastrophic for the economy.
Some of the people who oppose him and his ideals see his bitcoin speech as political makeup, but strongly support the coin and are recommending it now more than ever, in fear that the country’s currency will soon start to free fall.
“Bitcoin is going to be the average citizen’s only means of escape when his policy of excessively printing money destroys an already weak currency like the peso. Not to mention the inflationary effect, destructive for the little middle class that we have in Colombia.”, said a tweet responding to Petro.
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