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Annie Gugliotta.

Colombians want change, but what kind?

Against a backdrop of grinding inequality, rising violence, and widespread frustration with the political class, Colombians head to the polls on Sunday in the first round of what could be a watershed election for one of Latin America’s largest economies.

The past several years have been tumultuous for Colombians. The pandemic pushed 3.5 million of them into poverty, raising the overall rate to more than 40% of the population. Unemployment is running above 10 percent and inflation is at a 21-year high. There were mass urban protests over inequality in 2019 and a botched tax reform in 2021. Both led to deadly clashes with the police.

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