For many people in government and the auto industry, the main concern is whether there will be enough lithium to meet soaring demand for electric vehicles.

The Inflation Reduction Act, which President Biden signed in August, has raised the stakes for the auto industry. To qualify for several incentives and subsidies in the law, which go to car buyers and automakers and are worth a total of $10,000 or more per electric vehicle, battery makers must use raw materials from North America or a country with which the United States has a trade agreement.

rising fast.

California and other states move to ban internal combustion engines. “It’s going to take everything we can do and our competitors can do over the next five years to keep up,” Mr. Norris said.

One of the first things that Sayona had to do when it took over the La Corne mine was pump out water that had filled the pit, exposing terraced walls of dark and pale stone from previous excavations. Lighter rock contains lithium.

After being blasted loose and crushed, the rock is processed in several stages to remove waste material. A short drive from the mine, inside a large building with walls of corrugated blue metal, a laser scanner uses jets of compressed air to separate light-colored lithium ore. The ore is then refined in vats filled with detergent and water, where the lithium floats to the surface and is skimmed away.

The end product looks like fine white sand but it is still only about 6 percent lithium. The rest includes aluminum, silicon and other substances. The material is sent to refineries, most of them in China, to be further purified.

Yves Desrosiers, an engineer and a senior adviser at Sayona, began working at the La Corne mine in 2012. During a tour, he expressed satisfaction at what he said were improvements made by Sayona and Piedmont. Those include better control of dust, and a plan to restore the site once the lithium runs out in a few decades.

“The productivity will be a lot better because we are correcting everything,” Mr. Desrosiers said. In a few years, the company plans to upgrade the facility to produce lithium carbonate, which contains a much higher concentration of lithium than the raw metal extracted from the ground.

The operation will get its electricity from Quebec’s abundant hydropower plants, and will use only recycled water in the separation process, Mr. Desrosiers said. Still, environmental activists are watching the project warily.

Mining is a pillar of the Quebec economy, and the area around La Corne is populated with people whose livelihoods depend on extraction of iron, nickel, copper, zinc and other metals. There is an active gold mine near the largest city in the area, Val-d’Or, or Valley of Gold.

Mining “is our life,” said Sébastien D’Astous, a metallurgist turned politician who is the mayor of Amos, a small city north of La Corne. “Everybody knows, or has in the near family, people who work in mining or for contractors.”

Most people support the lithium mine, but a significant minority oppose it, Mr. D’Astous said. Opponents fear that another lithium mine being developed by Sayona in nearby La Motte, Quebec, could contaminate an underground river.

Rodrigue Turgeon, a local lawyer and program co-leader for MiningWatch Canada, a watchdog group, has pushed to make sure the Sayona mines undergo rigorous environmental reviews. Long Point First Nation, an Indigenous group that says the mines are on its ancestral territory, wants to conduct its own environmental impact study.

Sébastien Lemire, who represents the region around La Corne in the Canadian Parliament, said he wanted to make sure that the wealth created by lithium mining flowed to the people of Quebec rather than to outside investors.

Mr. Lemire praised activists for being “vigilant” about environmental standards, but he favors the mine and drives an electric car, a Chevrolet Bolt.

“If we don’t do it,” he said at a cafe in La Corne, “we’re missing the opportunity of the electrification of transport.”

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Chile Votes on Constitution That Would Enshrine Record Number of Rights

SANTIAGO, Chile — Voters in Chile on Sunday could transform what has long been one of Latin America’s most conservative countries into one of the world’s most left-leaning societies.

In a single ballot, Chileans will decide whether they want legal abortion; universal public health care; gender parity in government; empowered labor unions; greater autonomy for Indigenous groups; rights for animals and nature; and constitutional rights to housing, education, retirement benefits, internet access, clean air, water, sanitation and care “from birth to death.”

It is perhaps the most important vote in the 204-year history of this South American nation of 19 million — a mandatory, nationwide plebiscite on a written-from-scratch constitution that, if adopted, would be one of the world’s most expansive and transformational national charters.

legalized divorce only in 2004, would suddenly have more rights enshrined in its constitution than any other nation. If they reject it, Chile would have little to show for what had once been seen as a remarkable political revolution.

the new administration of President Gabriel Boric, a tattooed, 36-year-old former student-protest leader who took office in March, but has quickly faced plummeting approval ratings amid rising inflation and crime. The constitution would enable Mr. Boric to carry out his leftist vision, while rejection could mire his term in more political fighting about what to do next.

A year ago, most Chileans would have bet that the country would embrace the proposed constitution. There has long been widespread discontent with the current constitution, which has roots in the brutal dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who ruled from 1973 until 1990.

In 2019, nationwide protests that left 30 people dead led Chile’s political leadership to grant a referendum on the constitution. A year later, nearly four out of five Chileans voted to replace it.

banned all forms of abortion until 2017, when it legalized the procedure only in cases of rape, an unviable fetus or a threat to the mother’s life.

some of the most expansive rights for Indigenous people anywhere, according to experts.

protesting in a Pikachu costume. Seventeen seats also went to Indigenous people.

Leftists won more than two-thirds of the convention’s seats, putting them in full control of the process since a two-thirds majority was necessary to add measures.

The motley crew deciding Chile’s future drew unwanted attention at times. There was the woman who gave a speech bare-chested and the man who left his camera on while showering during a remote vote. Many voters felt that the convention was not taking the process seriously.

“The behavior of the convention members pushed people away the most,” said Patricio Fernández, a leftist writer who was a convention member.

In recent months, Chileans have been bombarded with marketing from the “apruebo” and “rechazo” campaigns, some of it misleading, including claims that the constitution would allow abortion in the ninth month of pregnancy and ban homeownership.

On Thursday night, each side held closing rallies. Hundreds of thousands of “apruebo” supporters packed downtown Santiago and watched concerts by famous Chilean music acts, from rap to Andean folk.

“I’ve already lived, but I want deep change for the children of Chile,” said María Veloso, 57, who runs a food stand.

In a wealthier part of town, in a hillside amphitheater named after the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, a much smaller crowd gathered to mark their campaign to reject the leftist text. (Mr. Neruda, ironically, was a communist.) Hundreds of people waved Chilean flags and danced to an act impersonating the flamboyant Mexican singer Juan Gabriel.

“Here in Chile, they’re defending dogs more than babies,” said Sandra Cáceres Ríos, 50, an herb seller.

Regardless of the vote’s outcome, there is more political negotiating ahead. In the case of approval, Chile’s Congress, which is ideologically split, will be tasked with figuring out how to implement many of the changes. Lawmakers could try to significantly limit the scope or impact of some policies, such as abortion or Indigenous rights, by passing laws interpreting the constitution’s language in a narrow way.

Ultimately, the real effect of many provisions would probably be determined by the courts.

If the text is rejected, Mr. Boric, Chile’s president, has said that he would like to see a new convention draft another proposed charter.

He would, in other words, like to try it all again.

Pascale Bonnefoy and Ana Lankes contributed reporting from Santiago, Chile.

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Why Does U.S. Life Expectancy Rank Poorly?

Life expectancy is a key metric used to determine the heath of a country. The World Bank says it’s improving around the world.

How long will you live? It could be an inspiring or scary question.  

But to a demographer It’s neither. It’s a key metric that says a lot about the health of a country.  

In 1960 the average American’s life expectancy was almost 70 years old, according to the World Bank. 

The U.S. ranked 189th in the world. 

Today the nation has made progress, with an average life expectancy of 77. 

But other countries have made greater strides. As of 2020, the U.S. was ranked 61st out of  237 nations. 

Why have other countries surged ahead? And how could the U.S. improve? 

To answer these questions we’re focusing on three countries: the U.S., the richest country in the world, according to the World Bank; Japan, the third richest; and Chile, ranked 43rd.  

We spoke to Joseph Chamie. He’s the former director of the United Nations Population Division. 

“The U.S. was doing very well right after World War II in 1950, ’55, relative to those countries,” said Chamie. 

During the post-war boom, Americans benefited from medical advances, like penicillin and open heart surgery.  

Japanese men had a life expectancy of 24 during the war, thanks in part to combat and food shortages. 

“Japan’s life expectancy was lower than the U.S. in the early fifties. Of course they have to rebuild their societies,” said Chamie. 

The new Japanese government passed 32 health laws between 1946 and 1955 aimed at regulating doctors and nurses, requiring school lunches, reducing pollution and preventing infectious disease.  

Japanese life expectancy shot up 14 years between 1947 and 1955, according to government data.  

“In the case of Chile, it was even more remarkable,” Chamie said.  

Chileans’ life expectancy was 54 years old in 1950. 

“Chile in particular saw a dramatic increase in life expectancy. They were able to provide health care systems, developing that preventive care, dropping infant mortality rates,” Chamie said.  

Meanwhile in 1961, Japan established universal health insurance.  

The government covered half of everyone’s medical costs.  

“But there are many factors in Japan that were contributing to a lower mortality. One of them, of course, was diet and obesity. Eating more fish and more vegetables than the American diet,” Chamie said.

Americans lived longer as the 20th century progressed, but we also developed some unhealthy habits. 

“In the U.S. the diet started increasing with greater and greater reliance on prepared foods, commonly called junk foods, fast foods. More and more people involved in work and doing less exercise.”

“In the U.S., many people are lacking health care systems in place, so they are not taking preventive action early enough to deal with illnesses. Especially the last 20, 30 years, drug addiction, opioids have gotten a become an epidemic level proportion. Obesity has also gotten much higher,” said Chamie. 

“Chile and Japan, they’re providing health care systems, and also supporting people so they feel integrated in society,” Chamie said. “They did some comparisons of Japanese who went to Hawaii and California. And you find that they changed their diet, increased obesity and also lower life expectancy because of that diet change.”

“We’re spending a great deal of money on our health care and doing not as well as many other countries, including China, Japan and Chile,” he continued. “Individual responsibility is certainly one area. Second, providing health care systems and adequate services to assist people so that they will live to old age.”

So many factors determine how long we’ll live. But Chamie says learning from other countries’ successes might help us improve longevity here at home. 

Source: newsy.com

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Scientists Say New Climate Law Is Likely To Reduce Warming

By Associated Press
August 16, 2022

Scientists say new climate investment will have some beneficial effect on global warming, but the U.S. has a way to go.

Massive incentives for clean energy in the U.S. law signed Tuesday by President Joe Biden should reduce future global warming “not a lot, but not insignificantly either,” according to a climate scientist who led an independent analysis of the package.

Even with nearly $375 billion in tax credits and other financial enticements for renewable energy in the law, the United States still isn’t doing its share to help the world stay within another few tenths of a degree of warming, a new analysis by Climate Action Tracker says. The group of scientists examines and rates each country’s climate goals and actions. It still rates American action as “insufficient” but hailed some progress.

“This is the biggest thing to happen to the U.S. on climate policy,” said Bill Hare, the Australia-based director of Climate Analytics which puts out the tracker. “When you think back over the last decades, you know, not wanting to be impolite, there’s a lot of talk, but not much action.”

This is action, he said. Not as much as Europe, and Americans still spew twice as much heat-trapping gases per person as Europeans, Hare said. The U.S. has also put more heat-trapping gas into the air over time than any other nation.

Before the law, Climate Action Tracker calculated that if every other nation made efforts similar to those of the U.S., it would lead to a world with catastrophic warming — 5.4 to 7.2 degrees (3 to 4 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial times. Now in the best case scenario, which Hare said is reasonable and likely, U.S. actions, if mimicked, would lead to only 3.6 degrees (2 degrees Celsius) of warming. If things don’t work quite as optimistically as Hare thinks, it would be 5.4 degrees (3 degrees Celsius) of warming, the analysis said.

Even that best case scenario falls short of the overarching internationally accepted goal of limiting warming to 2.7 degrees warming (1.5 degrees Celsius) since pre-industrial times. And the world has already warmed 2 degrees (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the mid-19th century.

Other nations “who we know have been holding back on coming forward with more ambitious policies and targets” are now more likely to take action in a “significant spillover effect globally,” Hare said. He said officials from Chile and a few Southeast Asian countries, which he would not name, told him this summer that they were waiting for U.S. action first.

And China “won’t say this out loud, but I think will see the U.S. move as something they need to match,” Hare said.

Scientists at the Climate Action Tracker calculated that without any other new climate policies, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions in 2030 will shrink to 26% to 42% below 2005 levels, which is still short of the country’s goal of cutting emissions in half. Analysts at the think tank Rhodium Group calculated pollution cuts of 31% to 44% from the new law.

Other analysts and scientists said the Climate Action Tracker numbers makes sense.

“The contributions from the U.S. to greenhouse gas emissions are huge,” said Princeton University climate scientist Gabriel Vecchi. “So reducing that is definitely going to have a global impact.”

Samantha Gross, director of climate and energy at the Brookings Institution, called the new law a down payment on U.S. emission reductions.

“Now that this is done, the U.S. can celebrate a little, then focus on implementation and what needs to happen next,” Gross said.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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How Reproductive Rights Were Won In Latin America

By Newsy Staff
August 10, 2022

A movement called “The Green Wave” has pushed the success of the reproductive rights movement in three of Latin America’s most populous countries.

When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the United States became one of only four countries that have rolled back abortion rights since the mid-90s, joining Poland and two Latin American countries: El Salvador and Nicaragua.

But elsewhere in Latin America, there’s been momentum building in the opposite direction.

A widespread, grassroots movement known as “The Green Wave” has been gaining ground for reproductive rights in the region, winning major legal victories in the last couple of years. That’s in Latin America’s three most populous countries.

In December 2020, lawmakers in Argentina passed a law allowing abortion within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. Less than a year later, in September 2021, Mexico’s Supreme Court decriminalized abortion through a unanimous decision. Then in February of this year, Colombia’s highest court legalized abortion during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. Coming up in September, voters in Chile will decide whether to ratify a new constitution that would protect the right to abortion.

These changes are a huge deal for countries that are predominantly Catholic and historically very conservative with abortion rights.

Argentina is the birthplace of Pope Francis, who made last-minute appeals against both an unsuccessful bill in 2018 and the bill that was passed in 2020. Meanwhile Chile, another historically very Catholic country, had a total abortion ban until as late as 2017.

So, what exactly is this movement, and how did it achieve such huge victories against the odds?

The Green Wave began in Argentina. Organizers took inspiration from the “Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo:” a group of women who protested against the ruling military junta in the late 70s. The women, protesting the thousands of civilian killings ordered by the mIlitary, famously wore white scarves on their heads.

Fast forward a couple of decades, two women decided to pay homage to the protesters without reusing the color white. The original organizers brainstormed together and settled on the color green to symbolize life and growth.

The green bandanas made their debut in 2018 to support a bill to decriminalize abortion. Though the law didn’t pass then, the image of the waves of green stuck – and the movement began in earnest.

It’s worth noting: The region is still one of the most restrictive in the world when it comes to reproductive health laws. As of 2021, abortion is entirely banned in Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Haiti, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Suriname.

But, the recent wave of victories seems to be changing public opinion. For example, one poll in Mexico showed support for abortion access jumped dramatically from 29 to 48%. That poll was taken just as Argentina was passings its laws, and Mexico would follow nine months later.

This shift correlates with another important shift in the region: Some surveys indicate a decline in Catholicism among most Latin American countries. Argentina had one of the biggest drops in this regional survey, from 76% to 49% reporting they identified as Catholic. 

That begs the question: What effect from this might be seen in the U.S.? The green symbolism has already made its way stateside, and some elected officials like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore a green bandana on the steps of the Supreme Court after the ruling.

Still, the question still remains of how the U.S. might translate this symbolism into real, legislative action seen in Colombia, Mexico and Argentina.

Source: newsy.com

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As Latin America Shifts Left, Leaders Face a Bleak Reality.

BOGOTÁ, Colombia — In Chile, a tattooed former student activist won the presidency with a pledge to oversee the most profound transformation of Chilean society in decades, widening the social safety net and shifting the tax burden to the wealthy.

In Peru, the son of poor farmers was propelled to victory on a vow to prioritize struggling families, feed the hungry and correct longstanding disparities in access to health care and education.

In Colombia, a former rebel and longtime legislator was elected the country’s first leftist president, promising to champion the rights of Indigenous, Black and poor Colombians, while building an economy that works for everyone.

election of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico and could culminate with a victory later this year by a leftist candidate in Brazil, leaving the region’s six largest economies run by leaders elected on leftist platforms.

A combination of forces have thrust this new group into power, including an anti-incumbent fervor driven by anger over chronic poverty and inequality, which have only been exacerbated by the pandemic and have deepened frustration among voters who have taken out their indignation on establishment candidates.

sliding backward, and instead of a boom, governments face pandemic-battered budgets, galloping inflation fed by the war in Ukraine, rising migration and increasingly dire economic and social consequences of climate change.

In Argentina, where the leftist Alberto Fernández took the reins from a right-wing president in late 2019, protesters have taken to the streets amid rising prices. Even larger protests erupted recently in Ecuador, threatening the government of one of the region’s few newly elected right-wing presidents, Guillermo Lasso.

“I don’t want to be apocalyptic about it,” said Cynthia Arnson, a distinguished fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. “But there are times when you look at this that it feels like the perfect storm, the number of things hitting the region at once.”

Chile and Colombia, have shown people the power of the streets.

five of the six largest economies in the region will be run by leaders who campaigned from the left.

focused on austerity, is reducing spending.

What does link these leaders, however, are promises for sweeping change that in many instances are running headlong into difficult and growing challenges.

have plummeted.

Ninety percent of poll respondents told the polling firm Cadem this month that they believed the country’s economy was stuck or going backward.

Like many neighbors in the region, Chile’s yearly inflation rate is the highest it’s been in more than a generation, at 11.5 percent, spurring a cost-of-living crisis.

In southern Chile, a land struggle between the Mapuche, the country’s largest Indigenous group, and the state has entered its deadliest phase in 20 years, leading Mr. Boric to reverse course on one of his campaign pledges and redeploy troops in the area.

Catalina Becerra, 37, a human resources manager from Antofagasta, in northern Chile, said that “like many people of my generation” she voted for Mr. Boric because Mr. Kast, “didn’t represent me in the slightest.”

according to the Institute of Peruvian Studies — is now subject to five criminal probes, has already faced two impeachment attempts and cycled through seven interior ministers.

40 percent of households now live on less than $100 a month, less than half of the monthly minimum wage — while inflation has hit nearly 10 percent.

Still, despite widespread financial anxiety, Mr. Petro’s actions as he prepares to assume office seem to have earned him some support.

He has made repeated calls for national consensus, met with his biggest political foe, the right-wing former president Álvaro Uribe and appointed a widely respected, relatively conservative and Yale-educated finance minister.

The moves may allow Mr. Petro to govern more successfully than say Mr. Boric, said Daniel García-Peña, a political scientist, and have calmed down some fears about how he will try to revive the economy.

But given how quickly the honeymoon period ended for others, Mr. Petro will have precious little time to start delivering relief.

“Petro must come through for his voters,” said Hernan Morantes, 30, a Petro supporter and environmental activist. “Social movements must be ready, so that when the government does not come through, or does not want to come through, we’re ready.”

Julie Turkewitz reported from Bogotá, Colombia, Mitra Taj from Lima, Peru and John Bartlett from Santiago, Chile. Genevieve Glatsky contributed reporting from Bogotá.

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Exclusive: Copper giant Codelco sees ‘very firm’ copper price ahead despite recent drop, chairman says

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Maximo Pacheco, Chile’s then-Energy Minister, speaks at the Chilean congress in Valparaiso, Chile May 17, 2016. REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido

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SANTIAGO, June 26 (Reuters) – Chilean state-owned copper miner Codelco, the world’s top producer of the red metal, sees a firm copper price ahead despite a recent sharp fall, chairman of the board Máximo Pacheco told Reuters in an interview in Santiago.

The comments come as copper prices posted their biggest weekly fall in a year as investors worried that efforts by central banks to stem inflation will stifle global economic growth and reduce demand for metals. read more

“We may be in temporary short-term turbulence, but what is important here are the fundamentals, the supply-demand balance looks very favorable to those of us who have copper reserves,” Pacheco said.

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“In a world where copper is the conductor par excellence and where there aren’t many new deposits either, the price of copper looks very firm because the future looks very electric.”

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange was 0.5% lower at $8,367 a tonne on Friday after touching $8,122.50, down 25% from a peak in March and the lowest level since February 2021. Other industrial metals also tumbled.

Pacheco, a former energy minister appointed earlier this year, said the annual production goal would be maintained at 1.7 million tonnes while he was in charge, including for this year. He said costs needed to be kept in check

“In this industry we compete with costs and that is why we need to be competitive,” he said.

Chile’s government said this week it would allow Codelco, which gives all its profits to the state, to retain 30% of its profits from last year to help finance an ambitious $40 billion investment plan until the end of the decade.

“We have this portfolio of very large projects and the Chilean state decided to change the dividend policy precisely to be able to finance those strategic projects not only with depreciation and debt but also with reinvestment,” he said.

The executive said the injection of resources would allow the firm’s debt to remain “relatively stable,” currently at some $18 billion, though it would still look for opportunities to go to debt markets to improve its maturity curve.

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Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Sandra Maler

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Gustavo Petro Wins the Election, Becoming Colombia’s First Leftist Leader

BOGOTÁ, Colombia — For the first time, Colombia will have a leftist president.

Gustavo Petro, a former rebel and a longtime legislator, won Colombia’s presidential election on Sunday, galvanizing voters frustrated by decades of poverty and inequality under conservative leaders, with promises to expand social programs, tax the wealthy and move away from an economy he has called overly reliant on fossil fuels.

His victory sets the third largest nation in Latin America on a sharply uncertain path, just as it faces rising poverty and violence that have sent record numbers of Colombians to the United States border; high levels of deforestation in the Colombian Amazon, a key buffer against climate change; and a growing distrust of key democratic institutions, which has become a trend in the region.

Mr. Petro, 62, received more than 50 percent of the vote, with more than 99 percent counted Sunday evening. His opponent, Rodolfo Hernández, a construction magnate who had energized the country with a scorched-earth anti-corruption platform, won just over 47 percent.

official figures.

part of a different rebel group, called the M-19, which demobilized in 1990, and became a political party that helped rewrite the country’s constitution. Eventually, Mr. Petro became a forceful leader in the country’s opposition, known for denouncing human rights abuses and corruption.

called his energy plan “economic suicide.”

riddled with corruption and frivolous spending. He had called for combining ministries, eliminating some embassies and firing inefficient government employees, while using savings to help the poor.

One Hernández supporter, Nilia Mesa de Reyes, 70, a retired ethics professor who voted in an affluent section of Bogotá, said that Mr. Petro’s leftist policies, and his past with the M-19, terrified her. “We’re thinking about leaving the country,” she said.

Mr. Petro’s critics, including former allies, have accused him of arrogance that leads him to ignore advisers and struggle to build consensus. When he takes office in August, he will face a deeply polarized society where polls show growing distrust in almost all major institutions.

He has vowed to serve as the president of all Colombians, not just those who voted for him.

On Sunday, at a high school-turned-polling station in Bogotá, Ingrid Forrero, 31, said she saw a generational divide in her community, with young people supporting Mr. Petro and older generations in favor of Mr. Hernández.

Her own family calls her the “little rebel” because of her support for Mr. Petro, whom she said she favors because of his policies on education and income inequality.

“The youth is more inclined toward revolution,” she said, “toward the left, toward a change.”

Megan Janetsky contributed reporting from Bucaramanga, Colombia, and Sofía Villamil and Genevieve Glatsky contributed reporting from Bogotá.

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