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Gustavo Petro, standing, speaks at a debate in Bogotá. (AP)

Colombia’s triple-header. In the coming months, voters will cast ballots up to three times for Colombia’s next president, starting with the primary-like interparty consultations on March 13. As is true elsewhere, many Colombians are showing signs that they’re weary of the status quo.

But that doesn’t mean they should throw out the baby with the proverbial bathwater and endanger the country’s strong institutions, Muni Jensen of the Albright Stonebridge Group tells AS/COA’s Holly Sonneland in this week’s Latin America in Focus episode.

Still, “the makeup of cabinets has to change and include new faces,” says Jensen, a former Colombian diplomat, who also profiles the big presidential players and previews the legislative elections taking place the same day as the consultations.

Winnowing it down. The March votes will eliminate more than half of a large, unwieldy presidential field. One consultation is former Bogotá Mayor Gustavo Petro’s to lose, but it’s less clear what will happen in the other two. Check out our poll update for more.

Read a who’s who of Colombia’s top candidates.

See our 2022 Election Guide.

SOA 101. When and where will the next Summit of the Americas be held? What will leaders do? What's the role of the private sector? Where can you get updates? AS/COA’s Steve Liston, who previously served as the State Department’s deputy national coordinator for the Summits, gives a rundown. Read all about it and check back for more at as-coa.org/ixsummit.

THEY SAID WHAT?

—Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, suggesting that his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin may have solved the crisis with Ukraine

DON'T MISS THIS
The number of forcibly displaced people in Colombia doubled in 2021 to 72,300, with another 239,000 people affected by armed violence, according to the UN. The continued threat posed by armed non-state groups is a sign that the goals of the landmark 2016 peace deal with the FARC remain unfulfilled.
COVID-19 IN LATIN AMERICA
One billion Covid shots. The region surpassed this milestone at the beginning of February. Not only that, but nine Latin American countries have fully vaccinated a larger portion of their populations than the United States has. Our vaccine timeline charts progress when it comes to getting shots in arms.
FAST STAT
$2.8 billion

Value of Mexican exports of avocados to the United States in 2021. A ban on avocado exports from Mexico to the United States went into effect on February 11 after a U.S. agricultural inspector was threatened in the state of Michoacán.

ICYMI from Americas Quarterly: How Biden can get the Summit of the Americas right. The never-ending story of Argentina and the IMF. AQ’s podcast covers AMLO on the defensive. Does the Colombian center stand a chance?

 

ALGO INSPIRING
Meet Honduran María Elena Bottazzi, who helped create the Corbevax vaccine and is now nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. "I am Central American and doing nonprofit projects is my way of giving back a little of what Honduras has given me,” she says.
 

A note to readers: El Chasqui will take a break next week, returning on March 4.

Our email is named after the mountain-running messengers of the Inca Empire.
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