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Cartagena's new mayor, Domec Torbay, demands an exorcism for the use of official office

Cartagena's new mayor, Domec Torbay, demands an exorcism for the use of official office

The new mayor of Cartagena de Indias, Domec Torbay, began his term on Monday with a rather strange request: exorcism. Torbay said the office in the Customs House should be cleaned out, after his predecessor and political rival William Dow ran the city from there for four years. “There is no way for me to enter this office, where the devil was,” the Liberal Party politician said. He added: “I ask the Catholic Church, and I mean it, to perform an exorcism.” The petition was a continuation of the hostile rivalry between Torbay, the former governor of Bolivar Province, and Dow, the controversial and anti-politician, who accuses all politicians, especially Torbay recently, of being thieves.

So far, the new president has kept his word. The office on the second floor of the mayor's office — a colonial house that was once New Granada's main customs office and once the largest African slave-trading port in all of America — remains empty. Torbay, at the moment, is working on the Palacio de la Proclamación, another architectural gem in the historic center of Cartagena where the provincial government has an office. From there, he began his mission to reclaim the historic center, at the hands of the police, which, he said, “had been occupied by pimps and jibaros” during Dau’s term.

Torbay won the election at the end of last October by promoting himself as anti-Dow. He received nearly 160,000 votes, equivalent to 42% of the total votes. On Halloween, two days after the election, the then-mayor of Torbay wore a Torbay mask and posted a video on social media in which he said: “Tricky, Tricky Halloween, I want money for myself, if there is no money for me.” “Your nose is falling off.” The Caliph replied. He mocked his rival, 19 years his senior, in

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A candidate who represented anti-politics like Dow, Judith Pinedo, known as Mariamolata, placed third in the regional election. The outgoing mayor's unpopularity was clear, and Pinedo – who was already mayor and exited office very popular – tried to distance herself from him during the election campaign. Moreover, the list presented to the council by those close to the former mayor, under the name Fuera Malandrines, was far from the threshold for electing council members in the city; He barely received 6,000 votes in a city of over a million people.

The results were a 180-degree turn from the results of 2019. Dow, a lawyer who had recently returned to his homeland after 15 years working in New York, decided to confront the political class that was particularly powerful in Cartagena, and corruption. It permeates Colombian politics. He went from being an unknown to winning the mayor's office with 29% of the vote. However, as mayor, the pandemic and difficulties in turning his talk of change into tangible facts have affected his popularity, and his unpredictable personality has become increasingly controversial.

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His tenure was marked by strange and sometimes humiliating incidents. In 2019, before taking office, a judge ordered him to correct a video he leaked on social media in which he accused Torbay of corruption. In August 2021, an interview with him went viral in which he explained the work of rehabilitating the city's road network in a very strange way: while imitating the sounds of trains, trucks and machines. “From today I allow myself to say sh, sh, sh, sh… and in the end we start rehabilitating the road network. “I come from Santander Street and there we start: uuu, brrr, load the truck…” said the then mayor. .

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A few months later, the Public Prosecutor's Office brought charges against him “for an alleged violation of the duty to treat other public officials with respect, impartiality and impartiality,” after publishing audio recordings of a counselor's session in which Daw He treated his subordinates as his own. “truhans”, “fagots”, and “scumbags”.

But the differences were just the tip of the iceberg. His management was not well received either. In 2022, Cartagena was the only one of the five major Colombian capitals where poverty increased. By the end of his term, Dow's disapproval rate was 64%, and 8 out of 10 Cartagenaeros believed the city was not on the right track, according to Cartagena Como Vamos.

Torbay took advantage of this bad image to run a campaign criticizing his predecessor. At one point he accused him of being in charge of the mayor's office, “the most corrupt in Colombia,” a reproach to which Dow responded forcefully: “I reported you as a thief.” In the end, the career politician prevailed over the anti-politician, winning the mayor's office. One of these days, he will also keep his office in the Customs Palace. Exactly when that will be remains to be seen. First, he is waiting for an appointment with the Catholic Church, which has not yet officially responded to the public request.

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