Gustavo Petro is the new President of Colombia as he won by a thin margin of just over 50%. However, the result came out last Sunday, in which he went past his fellow contender Rodolfo Hernandez. His 77-year-old competitor is a well-established entrepreneur.
Gustavo Petro, who is ultimately known as a former guerilla. He took over the office of former President Ivan Duque.
It is a double historic win. His fellow running mate, Francia Marquez, is ready to be the first Afro-Colombian to exercise executive powers.
The former guerilla made a victory speech on the winning day and announced for a real change.
Amidst his winning speech, Petro made it clear that he is open to dialogue with the former President. In his winning speech, Gustavo proposed a Great National Agreement. In which he attempts to put a full stop to violence in the country.
He stated that what is yet to come is a real change. The new President is firm on his commitment to ensuring the will of the electorate. Better Colombia will be a priority.
The latest Colombian leader tweeted, reflecting his joy and enthusiasm, “Let us celebrate the first popular win. May so many sufferings comfort in the joy that today rains the heart of the homeland,”
Ivan Duque, the former President, said he congratulated the winning candidate Gustavo Petro. And hinted at meeting with him to ensure a peaceful, harmonious and transparent transition of the designation.
Hernandez loses with grace.
The losing candidate accepted the results and congratulated Petro on his remarkable win. He said, ‘ I accept the outcome as it should be if our institutions are to be strong. I truly hope that this decision benefits all. And that Colombia is moving toward the change that thrived in the first round of voting.’
Rodolfo suggested Petro stay true to his campaigning speeches. And that he will look to minimize corruption and fulfil the population’s hope.
Though it was a challenging victory for the former revolutionary as he failed twice before making history. Petro lost in the presidentship race in 2010 and 2018.
This time he created an image of a true promising leader from a perceived radical left-wing outsider.
It is never easy to win as a leftist leader. That too in one of the most prone conservative countries of South America.
So what changed the fortune of the two-time loser?
Petro’s success can be attributed partly to Colombia’s declining socio-economic situation. Inclusive of degrading living conditions caused mainly by the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Gustavo has historically advocated in favour of higher corporate taxation and public subsidies for the working class and poor. A strategy that did help him attract more people from that demographic.
Whereas Colombia has witnessed remarkable growth in the economy, inequality rates remain among the highest in the world.
According to the latest Gallup poll, nearly half of Colombians believe the economy is heading in the wrong direction.
Petro’s party and allies are already the Senate’s largest bloc. However, they do not influence a majority of the seats.
Petro has tried to clarify that his economic plan, which includes prohibiting fossil fuel exploration and renegotiation of international trade deals, is “too radical” for Colombia.
Since then, he has surrounded himself with more typical politicians who can help him build bridges with the regime.
He pledged not to confiscate any private land if voted into power in April. He’s also looking to appoint a moderate as his economic minister.
He has sought to establish international ties with new progressives. The Congressional Progressive Caucus in the United States, rather than traditional left-wing leaders such as Bolivia’s Evo Morales.
His critics have alleged him to be overly intellectual and detached. If not openly strict, with his own campaign team regarding him as “the Petroxplainer” due to his tendency to critique.
Gustavo spent his childhood in the ranks of a leftist guerrilla movement, M19. He was born in the rural north Colombian town of Ciénaga de Oro.
In the 19th of April Movement (M19), he did protest allegations of election fraud in 1970.
What is M19?
The organisation was part of the country’s so-called second wave of guerrilla movements. That pushed the province in the 1970s under the influence of the Cuban Revolution.
M19 was noted for illegal activity, including alleged ransom kidnappings.
Gustavo Petro in M19
He engaged in legal activities to mobilise people to oppose what he termed a “false democracy,” . Even representing as a councilman in Zipaquirá.
Petro was arrested in 1985 by police for hiding weapons. Pretty soon after, M19 launched the attack on the Supreme Court building in Bogota. Nearly killing at least 98 people, including 12 magistrates.
Petro denied the allegation of the assault, which occurred while he was in prison.
The new perception of former Guerilla
When Petro came out from military prison in 1987, his ideological perception had shifted. He claimed that time had taught him. That an armed rebellion is not really the best way to gain popular support.
M19 entered peace talks with the Colombian government. Two years later, Petro prepared to challenge the system from within.
Petro bet on Colombians’ faith in him as a mature politician. Tells CNN that he’s successfully combined his revolutionary zeal with skill in public management.
So, to sum up, the expectations from Gustavo Petro, it is ideal to remember his famous statement.
Magical realism emerges from the heart, whereas my scientific proposals come from the brain. Both are necessary to rule.