BOGOTÁ ( Associated Press) — Colombia turned to the left for the first time in its history by electing former rebel and current senator Gustavo Petro as its new president, in a runoff election that sparked discontent with the traditional political class amid a rise in inequality, commodity it shows. Prices and violence.
On the day social leader Francia Márquez was also elected as his vice president, the first black woman to hold the position, Petro overcame unexpected real estate tycoon Rodolfo Hernández and immediately approached her opponents and critics to try to unite. reached for. Colombia of different faces and interests.
When he took the stage after the victory, even Petro himself could not believe that he was the president, although he said that he had dreamed of that moment. The third time was the allure, losing in 2010 when he had no real chance and in 2018 in the ballot against outgoing conservative President Ivan Duque.
However, his victory was not loose. According to preliminary results, he received 50.4% of the vote, enough to defeat Hernández, who received 47% of the vote. The result predicts that he will rule under pressure from the opposition, apart from the fact that he will not have a majority in Congress.
In his first speech, he spoke to the half of Colombia that did not vote for him and proposed a “great national dialogue” involving his staunch opponents to achieve the consensus he was promised in the campaign. will allow ambitious reforms to be carried out. And that includes calling for a million-dollar tax reform to finance social programs like free higher education and subsidies for head-of-families mothers.
“Petro’s victory shows that the strategy of fear, hatred and stigmatizing the Left no longer serves as a strategy to win over voters,” Elizabeth Dickinson, Colombia’s senior analyst at International Crisis Group, told the Associated Press.
In Colombia, the left was marginalized because of its alleged involvement with the country’s armed conflict, which lasted five decades with the extinct guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), until in 2016 they stipulated did not sign a peace agreement with In his youth, Petro rebelled in M-19 guerrillas of a nationalist and anti-imperialist nature, until he laid down his arms in another peace deal in 1991.
With Petro, Colombia joined a group of Latin American countries that had elected leftist governments in Peru, such as Pedro Castillo; Xiomara Castro in Honduras and Gabriel Boric in Chile. The other pending election in the region is in Brazil in October, where leftist and former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva leads the elections in Brazil.
After Petro’s victory, everyone congratulated him, including the United States government, with which the Left has said it would change the previously publicized agreements, including those related to the fight against drug trafficking and meant for Colombians. US agents in presence. region.
In his speech, Petro said, “I propose to integrate Latin America more decisively … not only because we have Latin blood, but also Afro, ancestral indigenous blood.” Sustainable future by “high oil, coal and gas prices”. During the campaign, he promised not to license new oil exploitation or allow fracking, a technique used to extract gas and oil from deep rocks using water mixed with chemicals at high pressure.
Petro tried to allay fears that still existed among his opponents, who warned that Colombia would turn to communism and become “another Venezuela”. In his speech in front of hundreds of his followers in Bogota and broadcast live on social networks, he assured that “we are going to develop capitalism in Colombia, not because we worship it, but because we have to go first in Colombia.” Pre-modernism is the removal of feudalism. In Colombia, the new slavery”.
The president elected during the campaign promised to shake off foreign relations with Venezuela and the United States. On the one hand, it plans to resume diplomatic relations with the government of Nicolas Maduro, whom the duke does not consider legitimate and with whom he has severed ties since 2019. In addition, he will seek to lead the fight against climate change to protect. The Amazon rainforest, for which high emissions of greenhouse gases, will demand negotiations with the United States. Along with the North American country, it also proposes to review a free trade agreement signed a decade ago and a strategy to combat drugs.
“Petro can work very practically with the United States … the relationship will remain strong. But Petro would like to reconsider the issue of eliminating illegal crops. I believe Petro’s mandate and peace The interests of implementing the agreement mean a policy change in drug policy that must be negotiated with the United States, which provides the financing,” Dickinson said.
Internally, Petro and Marquez have promised to govern for the “nobles and nobles”, that is, minorities and the poor, who make up 39% of the population in Colombia, according to official figures for 2021.
Petro said, “that the old man and the old woman may have a pension, that the young man and the young woman may have a university, that the boy and the girl may have milk and bread, and that meat is no luxury.”
With Marquez, Colombia brings to a position of power, an Afro-Colombian and environmental leader who won The Goldman Environmental Prize in 2018 who faced persecution for his leadership, for his opposition to illegal mining, threats to him were found and attacked with a grenade. 2019
“We are going for peace decisively, without fear… We women are going to eradicate the patriarchy of our country. Let’s go together to end structural racism,” Marquez said on Sunday night. to the crowd shouting slogans “Yes it can be!”
García Cano reported from Caracas, Venezuela.