Colombia seems primed to begin state seizures of property.
President Gustavo Petro, who was sworn in as the country’s first leftist president in August 2022, has ordered that a law allowing the state to take ownership of various entities be applied, despite claiming during the electoral campaign that he would not engage in this practice.
Indeed, Petro signed a notarized document to the effect that he would not undertake expropriations. This was done partly to address the anxiety generated in many Colombians by a policy they have seen exorbitantly applied in the neighboring country of Venezuela to disastrous ends.
The expropriations under consideration by the Colombian government are specifically geared toward acquiring land to which at-risk families may be relocated during the coming winter.
It remains to be seen whether Petro’s administration will take things further and, if so, to the detriment of what economic sectors—and if the valuable lessons to be drawn from the Venezuelan expropriations under Hugo Chavez and beyond will be heeded.