Evangelical pastor Agustin Torres has accused Colombia’s leading progressive presidential candidate Gustavo Petro of resorting to satanism and indigenous witchcraft to get his supporters to go to his rallies.
Torres’ remarks were made ahead of Petro’s rally in Barranquilla Sunday with Torres telling his followers to pray to prevent the “devil” from taking over Barranquilla.
Despite the calls and accusations, only a small crowd showed up and left once Petro’s supporters arrived.
“We know in every campaign presentation he (Petro) performs a satanic ritual to summon the people,” the Barranquilla pastor claimed in a video shared on social media.
Pointing to the fact that Petro's wife, Verónica Alcocer García, wears traditional Wayuu dresses as along with the fact that the candidate is areligious the pastor said summoning the dark arts is the only way he could achieve large crowd sizes. The Wayuu people are Colombia’s and Venezuela’s largest indigenous group.
According to the pastor, satanic rituals would explain the massive rally in Plaza Bolivar Thursday in Bogota, where a crowd of roughly 60,000 people gathered to see Petro in his closing rally.
The video also attempts to draw parallels between Petro and the late Hugo Chavez showing similarities in their political speeches, a smear regularly used by Colombia's right-wing, including by Ivan Duque, the leading presidential candidate, and former president Alvaro Uribe’s protege.
Besides the racism implicit in referring to indigenous rituals as satanic and evil, the anti-Petro video also featured other conspiracy theories. In one part of the video, it is claimed Petro’s wife looked “reptilian,” which according to the evangelical leader serves as proof of the devil’s connection to the campaign.
The pastor and other members of the evangelical church have called on followers to pray against “satanic communism” and to ensure “god almighty governs Colombia.”
According to all polls, Duque and Petro will compete for the presidency in the second round of vote scheduled for June 17.