Gustavo Petro becomes Colombia’s first leftist president

Gustavo Petro took the oath of office as Colombia’s first leftist president before a crowd of hundreds of thousands at his inauguration in Bogotá on Sunday.

The 62-year-old former guerrilla and former mayor is planning sweeping reforms in a country plagued by economic inequality and drug violence, succeeding the wildly unpopular Yvan Duque. .

“I swear to God I promise my people that I will faithfully enforce the Constitution and the laws of Colombia,” Petro said before a crowd of supporters in Bogota’s Plaza Bolivar.

He also took aim at decades of anti-drug efforts, saying “it’s time to convene a new international conference to acknowledge that the war on drugs has failed.”

During his campaign, the Petro pledged to raise taxes on the wealthy, invest in health care and education, and reform the police during his four-year term, a move that last year sparked international condemnation. It was after a brutal crackdown on equality protests.

Jorge Restrepo, an analyst at the Center for Conflict Analysis Resources (Cerac), told AFP that Petro “has the enviable position of having a majority in parliament and not supporting any government in the streets in recent years. I started from,” he said.

The Venezuelan leader was not invited to the ceremony by outgoing President Duque.

The sword, which was eventually brought to Bolivar Square by the ceremonial guards, was of particular importance to Peter. Because it was stolen decades ago by the M-19 guerrilla group of which Petro was once a member, then returned in 1991. signed a peace agreement.

Petro’s presidency is also historic in another way. At his side is the country’s first female Afro-Colombian vice president, 40-year-old environmental and women’s rights activist Francia Marquez.

Almost 40% of Colombia’s 50 million population live in poverty and 11.7% are unemployed.

On Monday, a preparatory committee set up by Petro said he inherited “significant levels of debt and budget deficits”.

Alexandra Rojas, a supporter of the new president, said: “I am so grateful to the millions of Colombians who believed in change. Today we are working hand in hand to achieve it. I will start,” he said.

Ruth Perez said, “I am delighted to see the inauguration of President Gustavo Petro. What happiness. I can’t contain it. Happiness is great. Change has happened. Change has come.” .” Flag.

Petro has pledged to implement outstanding provisions of the 2016 peace accord in which the rebel FARC movement gave up its arms after nearly 60 years of civil war.

Despite the dissolution of the FARC into a political party, riots have surged in Colombia.

According to the Indepaz Institute for Peace, 90 armed groups with about 10,000 members operate in Colombia, the world’s largest producer of cocaine.

Colombian presidents serve only one term.

first published as Gustavo Petro becomes Colombia’s first leftist president

Gustavo Petro becomes Colombia’s first leftist president

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