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 basic 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 capable of 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 mentioned in a victory speech in Bogota on Sunday night to standing ovations. “That is beginning right now 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 mentioned 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 road 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 totally completely different imaginative and prescient as a result of he has targeted his consideration on essentially the most deprived individuals within the nation,” Andres Felipe Barreiro, who voted for Petro, mentioned Sunday evening. “This contains individuals who reside within the marginal neighborhoods of main cities in Colombia, in addition to black and indigenous communities.”

As mayor of Bogotá, he gained a popularity for his conceitedness and feisty conduct towards his critics, whereas additionally implementing a hurt discount program for town’s homeless, in addition to making an attempt to reform rubbish administration.

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

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

Regardless of the Sunday evening euphoria, Petro’s time in workplace is prone to be very difficult. Not solely does his 50.47% vote share give him a weak mandate, he’s considered 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 concern how a lot change might change with a left-wing authorities,” Silvana Amaya, chief analyst at world danger consultancy Management Dangers, mentioned 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 inside battle for greater than 60 years led by left-wing guerrilla teams shouldn’t enable such an ideology to rule Colombia.”

His plans to retool Colombia’s economic system away from fossil fuels and towards agriculture are prone to elevate market considerations.

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

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

“Right this moment, we rejoice Colombian democracy and their peaceable election,” Brian Nichols, US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, tweeted on Sunday. “We look ahead to working carefully with the Petro administration to advance the shared targets of the Colombian and American individuals.”

The nation may even 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 many years of civil battle that killed greater than 260,000 individuals and displaced greater than 7 million.

This deal was reluctantly applied by the outgoing authorities of President Ivan Duque, who was accused of being intentionally gradual to deliver 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,” mentioned Adam Isaacson, director of protection oversight on the Washington Workplace of Latin America, a US-based assume tank. A key factor of the Petro plan is to extend governance and primary providers 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 situated in these traditionally contested areas, which voted for him by an amazing majority.”

Edinson Bolaños contributed reporting from Bogotá.