Gustavo Petro: Colombia’s first left-wing president to face a tough challenge | Colombia

hHe spent 12 years of his youth within the ranks of an city guerrilla group, taking the pseudonym of a revolutionary normal from Gabriel García Márquez. 100 years of isolation. Later, he turned a progressive mayor of Bogotá, the capital of Colombia, and as a senator. He ran for president twice unsuccessfully, unable to beat the almost two-century-old conservative wall across the Colombian presidency.

However on Sunday, Gustavo Petro, 62, was lastly in a position to tear down that wall was elected presidentHe made historical past as the primary left-wing head of state for the South American nation.

“We is not going to betray the voters who’ve cried out in historical past,” Petro stated in a victory speech in Bogota on Sunday night to standing ovations. “That is beginning immediately Colombia the modifications. “

Petro’s journey from the ranks of the M-19 guerrilla motion to the Presidential Palace in Bogota additionally included his arrest for possession of weapons when he was youthful. He additionally stated that he escaped torture. M-19 was demobilized in 1990, with a few of its members signing the present Colombian structure. Different members together with Carlos Pizarro, her presidential candidate, have been killed that yr.

Petro victory over Rodolfo Hernandez, a gaffe-prone former enterprise magnate and mayor of Bucaramanga who as soon as referred to Hitler as a “nice German thinker,” was greeted with avenue events from his supporters throughout the nation. He’ll take workplace in early August.

Colombia elections: Gustavo Petro, the primary leftist president elected – video

“Petro has a very totally different imaginative and prescient as a result of he has centered his consideration on essentially the most deprived folks within the nation,” Andres Felipe Barreiro, who voted for Petro, stated Sunday evening. “This contains individuals who stay within the marginal neighborhoods of main cities in Colombia, in addition to black and indigenous communities.”

As mayor of Bogotá, he gained a status for his vanity and feisty conduct towards his critics, whereas additionally implementing a hurt discount program for the town’s homeless, in addition to attempting to reform rubbish administration.

Will likely be Petro’s vice chairman Francia Marquez, the primary black lady to carry this place. Marquez, a single mom and human rights defender from the oppressed Pacific area of Colombia, Gained the celebrated Goldman Environmental Award in 2018.

“After 214 years, we now have come to a authorities of the folks, a folks’s authorities, of individuals with tough palms, authorities of a folks standing on their ft, of the nobles of Colombia,” Marquez stated on the ceremony.

Regardless of the Sunday evening euphoria, Petro’s time in workplace is more likely to be very difficult. Not solely does his 50.47% vote share give him a weak mandate, he’s seen with nice suspicion by a lot of the nation, who equate him with the area’s highly effective insurgent teams and leftists.

“In a historically conservative right-wing nation, some Colombians worry how a lot change may change with a left-wing authorities,” Silvana Amaya, chief analyst at international danger consultancy Management Dangers, stated earlier than Sunday’s vote. Some Colombians liken the left to Chavez and Venezuela’s social and financial woes. Others argue {that a} nation that has suffered inner battle for greater than 60 years led by left-wing guerrilla teams mustn’t enable such an ideology to rule Colombia.”

His plans to retool Colombia’s financial system away from fossil fuels and towards agriculture are more likely to increase market considerations.

Gustavo Petro's supporters celebrate his victory in Bogota.
Gustavo Petro’s supporters have a good time his victory in Bogota. Photograph: Perla Bayona/LongVisual/ZUMA Press Wire/Rex/Shutterstock

Regardless of the worry of Petro’s victory, polling day handed with out violence or allegations of fraud, stunning some in a rustic lengthy infamous for political bloodshed.

“Immediately, we have a good time Colombian democracy and their peaceable election,” Brian Nichols, US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, tweeted on Sunday. “We sit up for working carefully with the Petro administration to advance the shared targets of the Colombian and American folks.”

The nation may also be on the high of Petro’s agenda fragile peace course of With the leftist rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which was Signed in 2016 It formally ended 5 a long time of civil struggle that killed greater than 260,000 folks and displaced greater than 7 million.

This deal was reluctantly applied by the outgoing authorities of President Evan Duque, who was accused of being intentionally sluggish to convey it up. Dissident FARC factions and different insurgent teams such because the Nationwide Liberation Military (ELN) proceed to ravage the countryside and revenue from drug smuggling and extortion.

“The candidate who promised essentially the most, and in essentially the most element, to implement the 2016 peace deal has been elected,” stated Adam Isaacson, director of protection oversight on the Washington Workplace of Latin America, a US-based suppose tank. A key ingredient of the Petro plan is to extend governance and primary companies within the uncared for countryside the place armed teams and quokkas proceed to thrive, a core dedication of the peace settlement. A big a part of his electoral base is positioned in these traditionally contested areas, which voted for him by an amazing majority.”

Edinson Bolaños contributed reporting from Bogotá.