With only a few days to go before the second round, the public is already clear about the good, the bad and the ugly of the candidates and their programmes, the dilemma behind each blank vote and the irresponsibility implicit in abstention. So, in this column I will not attempt to provide elements that might tip the scales of an undecided person. Time is a giant with long and heavy legs that has already come upon us; luck, empathy, logic or passion have already been cast. Today I simply want to remind you that on 20 June life goes on and the messages that have been dedicated to manipulating the mental health of voters, filling us with fallacies, infiltrations and revelations taken out of context, will have served no good purpose.

According to an artificial intelligence study reported on W Radio, there have been more than 26 million messages against the presidential candidates. Sixty-seven per cent against Petro and 25 per cent against Hernández. We are saturated; the red lines have become pale rubber curves and the practice of politics has been degraded between disinformation strategies and an unfortunate version of communications and marketing in charge of manipulating the minds of voters at will. I am not consoled that in other countries it is the same or worse. This campaign has created unnecessary distances, offence and sadness that we could have avoided if we had concentrated more on analysing the programmes than on hating the candidates. We lacked generosity and had too much vehemence, we failed to worry more about the future of the vulnerable than about our own risks, we failed to prioritise the national dimension over the personal millimetre. To disarm spirits and words, we must be courageous, humble and serene: “Who will heal the broken heart” of this country fractured by ourselves?

The next president will have to bring a large first-aid kit; he or she will find a country shattered by the debacle of the four-year term and worn down by the clumsy insistence on turning opponents into enemies. I insist: appointing the nation’s psychiatrist general – a post masterfully proposed by Ricardo Silva – is an emergency. I wonder: what would the cards and the arcana say if my philosopher friend Mavé were to make a tarot for Colombia today? What would Carlos Gaviria, Galán el Grande or Carlos Pizarro, thinkers of a politics and social justice that we have not achieved, be feeling – wherever they are?

In any scenario, the road will be difficult and the first challenge is for the followers of whoever loses to respect the results. Neither candidate has been able to control the ferocity of many of their acolytes, and the winemakers have plenty of venom and a lack of sense. That, sanity, is what will be essential on June 19 at 6:00 p.m. when we have a winner and half the country feels that the victory has been snatched away from them. We will then need leaders with a capital letter, a channel for the cause and voters capable of exercising frustration or victory in peace, because the worst defeat for everyone would be violence.

My heart and my reason allow me to distinguish between the personal and the plural, which is why – without being a Petrista and with many reservations – I take the risk (I said risk, not happiness) of voting for Gustavo Petro: what I believe he can do good for my country outweighs what he can do bad for my personal interests. I commit myself and invite you to respect the results and to support or oppose him always with independence and firmness, with honesty and in democracy. I neither offer nor ask for more… or less.

The original article can be found here