Gustavo Petro: first leftist president faces difficult problem in Colombia | Colombia

He spent 12 years of his early life within the ranks of an city guerrilla crew, taking the alias of a progressive normal from Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. Later, he would function a innovative mayor of Bogotá, Colombia’s capital, and as a senator. He ran for president unsuccessfully two times, not able to triumph over the conservative wall erected just about two centuries in the past across the Colombian presidency.

However on Sunday, Gustavo Petro, 62, was once in spite of everything ready to topple that wall and was once elected president, making historical past as the primary leftwing head of state of the South American nation.

“We aren’t going to betray the citizens that has shouted at historical past,” stated Petro in a triumphant victory speech in Bogotá on Sunday evening to rapturous applause. “It’s that beginning as of late Colombia adjustments.”

Petro’s adventure from the ranks of the M-19 guerrilla motion to the presidential palace in Bogotá additionally integrated an arrest for ownership of guns when he was once more youthful. He has additionally stated he survived torture. The M-19 demobilised in 1990, with a few of its participants signing Colombia’s present charter. Different participants have been killed together with Carlos Pizarro, its presidential candidate, that 12 months.

Petro’s victory over Rodolfo Hernández, a industry magnate and gaffe-prone former mayor of Bucaramanga who as soon as referred to Hitler as a “nice German philosopher”, was once met with partying within the streets from supporters around the nation. He’s going to take place of job in early August.

Colombia election: Gustavo Petro elected first leftist president – video

“Petro has a wholly other imaginative and prescient as a result of he has targeted his consideration at the maximum unprotected folks within the nation,” stated Andres Felipe Barrero, who voted for Petro, on Sunday evening. “And that incorporates the individuals who are living within the marginal neighbourhoods of the large towns of Colombia, in addition to black and Indigenous communities.”

As mayor of Bogotá he accumulated a name for high-handedness and a pugnacious perspective in opposition to his critics, whilst additionally imposing a hurt relief programme for the town’s homeless, in addition to making an attempt to reform garbage control.

Petro’s vice-president can be Francia Márquez, the primary black lady to carry the submit. Márquez, a unmarried mom and human rights defender from Colombia’s downtrodden Pacific area, gained the distinguished Goldman environmental prize in 2018.

“After 214 years we’ve accomplished a central authority of the folks, a well-liked executive, of folks with callused arms, a central authority of the folks on their ft, of the nobodies of Colombia,” Márquez stated at birthday celebration.

In spite of the euphoria of Sunday evening, Petro’s time in place of job is perhaps extraordinarily difficult. Now not best does his 50.47% vote percentage give him a skinny mandate, he’s considered with excessive suspicion by means of an important a part of the rustic, who equate him with insurrection teams and leftist strongmen within the area.

“In a conventional conservative rightwing nation, some Colombians concern how a lot can alternate with a leftwing executive,” stated Silvana Amaya, a senior analyst on the world chance consultancy Keep watch over Dangers, forward of the vote on Sunday. “Some Colombians liken the left to Chavez and the socioeconomic misfortune in Venezuela. Others imagine {that a} nation that has lived via an inside battle for greater than 60 years led by means of leftist guerrilla teams will have to no longer permit such an ideology to rule Colombia.”

His plans to retool Colombia’s financial system clear of fossil fuels and in opposition to agriculture are prone to spook markets.

Supporters of Gustavo Petro celebrate his victory in Bogota.
Supporters of Gustavo Petro have fun his victory in Bogotá. {Photograph}: Perla Bayona/LongVisual/ZUMA Press Cord/Rex/Shutterstock

In spite of the trepidation a couple of Petro victory, polling day went forward with out violence or allegations of fraud, sudden some in a rustic that has lengthy had a name for political bloodletting.

“Nowadays, we have fun Colombian democracy and their non violent election,” tweeted Brian A Nichols, the United States assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, on Sunday. “We look ahead to running intently with the Petro management to advertise mutual objectives for the Colombian and American folks.”

Additionally excessive on Petro’s time table would be the nation’s fragile peace procedure with the leftist rebels of the Modern Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), which was once signed in 2016 and officially ended 5 a long time of civil conflict that killed greater than 260,000 folks and displaced greater than 7 million.

That deal has been falteringly carried out by means of the outgoing executive of President Iván Duque, who has been accused of intentionally slow-walking its rollout. Dissident Farc factions that didn’t demobilise and different insurrection teams such because the Nationwide Liberation Military (ELN) proceed to roil the nation-state and take advantage of drug-trafficking and racketeering operations.

“The candidate who promised probably the most, and in maximum element, to put into effect the 2016 peace accord was once elected,” stated Adam Isacson, the director for defence oversight on the Washington Place of business on Latin The usa, a US-based thinktank. “A key part of Petro’s plan is to extend governance and fundamental services and products within the omitted nation-state the place armed teams and coca proceed to thrive, and that’s a core dedication of the peace accord. A lot of his electoral base is in those traditionally conflictive spaces, which voted for him overwhelmingly.”

Edinson Bolaños contributed reporting from Bogotá.

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