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Ex-rebel Fighter Gustavo Petro Wins Colombia’s Presidency!
Gustavo Petro, a former guerrilla warrior who has vowed social and economic reform, has been elected president of Colombia.
Petro Colombia’s first left-wing president will be in place after Sunday’s presidential runoff election.
Rodolfo Hernandez, a construction entrepreneur, received 47.3% of the vote to his 50.4%.
“As of today, Colombia is changing, a real change that guides us to one of our aims: the politics of love… of understanding and dialogue,” a jubilant Petro told his supporters in Colombia’s capital, Bogota.
For a country that has traditionally marginalized the left because of its perceived ties to the armed conflict, the victory of Petro, a senator and a former mayor of Bogota, was an indication of a dramatic shift in presidential politics. Petro was originally a member of the now-defunct M-19 movement, which was given amnesty after he was imprisoned for his role.
To some of his harshest critics, Petro offered an olive branch in his victory speech, saying that all opposition members would be welcome at the presidential palace “to discuss the problems of Colombia.” Petro is 62 years old.
According to him, “from this government that is beginning, there will never be political persecution or legal persecution, only respect and discussion,” he stated, adding that he will listen to “that silent majority of peasants, Indigenous people, women, youth” as well as those who have raised arms.
President Ivan Duque thanked Petro and Hernandez accepted defeat as soon as the results were known. ‘I accept the conclusion, as it ought to be if we want our institutions to stand steadfast,’ Hernandez said in a video posted on social media. “I genuinely hope that everyone benefits from this decision.”
BREAKING: Gustavo Petro is sworn in as President of Colombia 🇨🇴 for the 2022 – 2026 period pic.twitter.com/DO2qG7ZVtu
— Kawsachun News (@KawsachunNews) August 7, 2022
‘Change for the better
At a Petro campaign celebration in Bogota, 40-year-old supporter Alejandro Forero wept as the results came in.
I’m relieved that it’s finally over. My confidence in him as president is based on the fact that he will do everything he can to aid those of us who have less. A jobless Forero tells Reuters that things are going to improve.
To add to the number of Latin American countries that have elected progressives in recent years, this was Petro’s third presidential campaign. Petro has promised free university education, pension reforms, and heavy levies on unproductive land to combat inequality in the country. President Trump has also promised to carry out a 2016 peace agreement with FARC rebels and seek negotiations with the ELN, which is currently insurgent activity.
The First Afro-Colombian female vice president will be Petro’s running partner Francia Marquez, a single mother, and a former housekeeper.
After receiving death threats during a contentious campaign, Marquez declared, “The major difficulty that all of us Colombians have is reconciliation.” It’s time to construct peace, a peace that includes social justice, “
In Bogota, tens of thousands of people flocked to the streets to celebrate Petro and Marquez’s victory, some of whom danced in the rain outside the city’s largest polling station. “I’m happy because change is finally coming… Academic Lusimar Asprilla, 25, told the AFP news agency that “this shows there is hope.”
According to Al Jazeera’s Teresa Bo, who was reporting from Bogota, the election result was historic.
supporters of Petro claim that “now is the time to bring about a real change in Colombia—profound reforms that will benefit the people who have been at war for so long.” There is still a lot of conflict in Colombia, even though a peace agreement was signed with FARC (the left-wing rebel movement),” she said. Also, he talked about how this government would be one of peace, emphasizing the importance of social equity and environmental stewardship. To put an end to the use of his power to “destroy opponents,” the president has spoken out against oil and gas extraction, fracking, and the use of nuclear weapons. “We’ll have to wait and see how he handles these reforms,” she said.
With nearly half of the population living in poverty, Daniela Cuellar, an analyst at FTI Consulting, said Petro’s victory shows Colombians want to fight inequality.
According to Reuters, “the Colombian population demonstrated today that they are looking for a government that is focused on key social issues” COVID-19 has exacerbated Colombia’s long-standing problems of inequality, which have contributed to the electorate’s desire for a shift.”
Even though there are more than a dozen parties in the legislative body, they’ll provide some opposition to Petro’s plans.
As Cuellar put it, “Colombia’s institutional strength and rule of law appear sufficiently robust for the country to keep economic stability.” In addition to this, Petro’s policies will be more moderate because campaigning is not the same as ruling.
He won’t have the support of Congress, even if he tried to pass drastic measures, she added.
The likelihood of a political stalemate was raised by several observers.
President Sergio Guzman of Colombia Risk Analysis tells AFP that “this result does not provide the new president a strong mandate to conduct his policies without at least trying to resolve concerns from his counterpart.” A period of impasse and brinksmanship, he continued, is certain unless Petro learns “how to govern with the other half of the country.”
‘Joy for Latin America’
Several left-leaning figures in Latin America have congratulated Petro on his achievement.
“The victory of Gustavo Petro is historic. México president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador praised Colombia’s conservative party for its “tenacity and toughness” on Twitter.
As a Latin American, I feel great joy. At a time when everything around us seems to be changing so quickly, we will fight together to keep our continent united,” Chile President Gabriel Boric tweeted.
In Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro said, “The will of the Colombian people has been heard, it went out to defend the route to democracy and peace,” despite the opposition’s labeling him a dictator.
Blinken congratulated Colombia’s “people for making their voices heard in a free and fair presidential election” as well.
Resuming diplomatic relations with Venezuela, which were suspended in 2019, has been stated by Petro. The revision of a free trade deal, as well as new approaches to combating drug trafficking, are also high on his agenda for Colombia and the United States.
In the second round, an additional 1.2 million individuals cast ballots, bringing the total number of registered voters to 22.6 million. A protest vote was cast by 2.3% of voters, who backed neither candidate.
One of Petro’s election monitors and a soldier were murdered in the south, according to the electoral observation mission.
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