Apathy, World Cup expected to cause low voter turnout for Colombia’s runoff
Apathy and the World Cup were likely to cause turnout to plunge in Sunday’s vote to choose a successor to President Alvaro Uribe.
Widespread apathy and a passion for World Cup soccer could cause turnout to plunge Sunday when Colombians return to the polls to choose a successor to President Alvaro Uribe.
Juan Manuel Santos, a seasoned technocrat who promises continuity of Uribe’s successful security policies, is heavily favored to win over Antanas Mockus, an eccentric former Bogota mayor who promised a change in political culture.
In the May 31 first-round vote, Santos won almost 47 percent to Mockus’ 21 percent, surprising observers who had expected a tie between the two in a crowded field. In the three weeks since, Santos has increased his support to 66 percent according to one poll, with Mockus trailing with 27 percent.
With Santos, of the center-right U Party, commanding such a wide margin, Colombians have mostly turned their attention from politics and to the World Cup, which analysts say could affect Sunday’s turnout. Colombia did not qualify for the cup, but Colombians are passionate about soccer and three matches on Sunday could keep many people glued to their televisions and away from polling stations.
Elsewhere in the country,
World’s biggest drugs ’super cartel’ smashed by US authorities in Colombia
The world’s biggest drugs and money laundering “super cartel” in Colombia has been smashed by the American government, officials said.
Anti-drug agents arrested and charged dozens of members of the powerful Colombian cartel, including two major kingpins, after a series of raids across South America.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, estimated the cartel made an estimated $5 billion (£3.37bn) profit from their trade over the past few years.
Agents involved in Operation Pacific Rim said on Friday that the gang trafficked cocaine to every continent except Antarctica, with drugs bound for Europe and Britain smuggled through Spain.
They believe the gang were responsible for almost half of the cocaine on American streets, or more than 912 tonnes with an estimated street value of about $24 billion (£16.2 billion).
The drug cartels buy coca from Colombia’s peasant farmers for about £250 per pound. After being refined into cocaine, the same quantity can then be sold for about £15,000 in Europe.
They were said to have made so much money they could not launder it all, CBS News reported.