Colombian presidential elections live: Voters choose between Petro and Hernandez

attributed to him…Natalia Angarita for The New York Instances

Rodolfo Hernandez, the development mogul turned social media star who emerged as a shock candidate within the Colombian presidential election, has been largely absent from public life in current weeks.

He refused to attend debates and didn’t maintain any rallies, preferring the reside broadcast that his group collects on social media.

However on Sunday, because the polls opened, Mr. Hernandez received off a white automobile in his hometown of Bucaramanga, surrounded by bodyguards, amid a large crowd of voters.

“Lengthy reside Rodolfo!” Supporters shouted, and plenty of raced to peek on the candidate as he walked into the polling station.

Mr. Hernandez rushed via the bundle with a broad smile. His opponent, Gustavo Petro, a longtime senator and former insurgent making an attempt to turn into the nation’s first leftist president, solid his vote greater than 250 miles to the south, within the capital, Bogota.

In Bucaramanga, a medium-sized metropolis It’s the place Mr. Hernandez constructed his fortune and served as mayorHis candidacy has created political enthusiasm and deep regional pleasure among the many voters who consider he represents them.

Carlos Gamboa, a 42-year-old businessman, was among the many group of voters ready in line when Mr. Hernandez arrived to vote.

“Most of us are with Rodolfo,” he mentioned, including that he would not belief Mr Petrodue partially to the candidate’s time as a member of the M-19 insurgent group.

Mr. Hernandez labored on an anti-corruption platform, regardless of being accused of corruption and accused of paying his subordinates to award a debt contract to a selected firm, a deal that might have benefited his son.

He mentioned he’s harmless.

On the polls in Bucaramanga, not many citizens appeared to be alarmed by the accusation.

“Nobody goes to come back to energy right here clear,” mentioned Gilma Becerra, 58. “However Rodolfo is the least corrupt.”

In Bogotá on Sunday morning, Adriana Martinez, 24, queued outdoors a highschool within the working-class neighborhood of El Sucego.

She had simply completed her night time shift as a well being division assistant and went straight to the polling station by bus.

Ms Martinez mentioned she supported Mr Pietro, and that the choice was significantly influenced by his alternative Francia Marquez for vp, who may turn into the primary black lady vp.

Ms. Marques is an environmental activist who has moved out of poverty to turn into a nationwide phenomenon, and throughout the marketing campaign speaks about race, class and gender in a direct manner that’s hardly ever heard on the highest ranges of Colombian politics.

“It is somebody we got here from the place we got here from, and he or she needed to battle to get the place we’re,” mentioned Ms. Martinez.

Ms. Martinez mentioned she didn’t give a lot weight to the argument that Mr Petro’s insurance policies would result in the identical type of financial, humanitarian and democratic disaster that occurred in Venezuela.

In Colombia, “You do not have sufficient cash to purchase potatoes. On this sense, we’re already in excessive poverty.

on the similar polling station, Ingrid Forero, 31, mentioned she has seen a generational divide in her neighborhood, with younger folks supporting Mr Pietro and older generations in favor of Mr Hernandez.

Her household calls her a “little insurgent” due to her assist for Mr Petro, whom she mentioned she prefers due to his insurance policies on training and earnings inequality.

“Younger persons are extra inclined in the direction of revolution, in the direction of the left, in the direction of change,” she mentioned.