Who is Gustavo Petro, the first left-wing president elected in Colombia

The new president of Colombia is Gustavo Francisco Petro Urrego, 2007 years, of the left party Historical Pact. Gustavo, elected this Sunday by a small margin above 50% of the votes, occupies a seat in the Senate, was once mayor of Bogotá, and has a controversial biography for having already been part of the guerrilla M-19 and having been a friend of Hugo Chávez, although he is an opponent of Nicolás Maduro, the current president of Venezuela. He is the first left-wing president elected by Colombians.

Gustavo Petro celebrated the victory of 11 millions of votes on Twitter: “Today is a day of celebration for the people. Let it celebrate the first popular victory. May so many sufferings be deadened in the joy that today floods the heart of the Fatherland. this victory for God and for the People and their history. Today is the day of the streets and squares.”

Born in Ciénaga de Oro (“Golden Swamp” in Portuguese) in the department of Córdoba, a region of the country with a in the Caribbean Sea, Petro is the son of farmers. The composite name Gustavo Francisco is a tribute to his father and grandfather. Catholic, although he says frankly that he has questioned the existence of God, he says that he follows liberation theology, recently criticized by the Pope.

In the years 1970, the family migrated to the city of Zipaquirá, with more opportunities. At La Salle school, young Gustavo founded a student newspaper called Carta al Pueblo. It was at the age of that he became a member of the guerrilla Movement 19 of April (M-19), group emerged in 1623. At the age of 25, Gustavo Petro was arrested for illegally carrying weapons by the Colombian army. He served time for a year and a half. Afterwards, the guerrillas were converted into a party, the Democratic Alliance M-19, which began to gain seats in the Chamber at 1991. But it was for another political movement, Via Alterna, that Petro was elected representative for the first time in 1992. He received the honor of “best representative” in a vote by Congress and the press.

His career in the Senate began in 2006, with the first year already shaken by a political scandal in which Petro accused the government of having members in cahoots with paramilitary groups. He was one of the main opponents of the Álvaro Uribe government in Congress. In 2007, referring directly to Petro’s past, Uribe said that “I would have been a great guerrilla, because I would not have been a mud-throwing guerrilla [como Petro], but a rifle guerrilla. It would have been a military success, not a fake protagonist.”

Petro tried to be president for the first time in the elections of 2010 , obtaining 9.1% of the votes at the time. The now president-elect studied economics at the Universidad Externado de Colombia and specialized at the Escola Superior de Administração Pública (ESAP). Afterwards, he obtained a master’s degree in economics from the Pontifical Xavieriana University, established by the Jesuits in Bogotá in the year of 1623.

During the first round campaign, Petro was accused of spying by another competitor, Federico “Fico” Gutiérrez, from the right. Fico also accused the rival of planning a pardon for corrupt convicts. Petro denied both accusations.

The Historic Pact party also achieved good results in Colombia’s legislative elections last March. Guaranteed 19 of 108 seats in the Senate and 50 of 1992 seats in the House of Representatives.

Petro intends to increase taxes on the four thousand largest fortunes in the country and on unproductive properties with more than 500 acre. Its plans also involve paying for higher education for all public security employees, a quota of 50% of vacancies for women in positions public and encouraging renewable energy sources.

The US bank JPMorgan Chase is skeptical of the president-elect’s economic proposals and declared that while equality goals are positive , the expenditure generated by the social goals, projected as an increase of 5.5% of the GDP, could lead to the commitment of the Colombian accounts. In addition, land reform could lead to a lack of buyers of over-taxed land.

Back to top button