Colombia’s First-ever Leftist President Gustavo Petro Sworn in

Ex-guerrilla and former mayor Gustavo Petro will likely be sworn in Sunday as Colombia’s first-ever leftist president, with plans for profound reforms in a rustic beset by financial inequality and drug violence.

The former senator, 62, takes over from the deeply unpopular Ivan Duque for a four-year time period throughout which he’ll take pleasure in assist from a left-leaning majority in Congress.

Petro’s hard-fought victory in June elections introduced Colombia, lengthy dominated by a conservative elite, into an increasing left-wing fold in Latin America that might be consolidated in October with a probable victory for Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Brazil.

At a ceremony in Bogota on the eve of his inauguration, Petro stated his authorities would goal to “bring to Colombia what it has not had for centuries, which is tranquility and peace.”

“Here begins a government that will fight for environmental justice,” he added.

On the marketing campaign path, Petro had promised to lift taxes on the wealthy, make investments in well being care and training, and reform the police after a brutal crackdown on anti-inequality protests final yr that was internationally condemned.

He has vowed to droop oil exploration, to advertise clear vitality and to reactivate diplomatic and business relations with the federal government of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, suspended since 2019.

Petro begins from an “enviable position, with a large majority in Congress and, in terms of the street, with support that no government had in recent years,” analyst Jorge Restrepo of the Resource Center for Conflict Analysis (Cerac) instructed AFP.

‘Critical’ debt burden

Petro’s presidency is historic in one other sense, too: by his facet would be the nation’s first-ever Afro-Colombian lady vice-president, environmental and girls’s rights activist Francia Marquez, 40.

The pair will grapple with an financial system reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, a spike in violence and deep-rooted anger on the political institution that culminated in final yr’s protests.

Almost 40 % of Colombia’s 50 million individuals reside in poverty, whereas 11.7 % are unemployed.

Inflation reached 10.2 % year-on-year in July.

On Monday, a preparatory fee arrange by Petro stated he was inheriting “a level of indebtedness and fiscal deficit that… is critical.”

Peace talks

Petro, who in his youth was a member of the M-19 city guerrilla group, has promised to implement excellent provisions of the 2016 peace settlement that noticed the insurgent FARC motion lay down arms after almost six a long time of civil battle.

The former mayor of Bogota has additionally vowed to pursue negotiations with the National Liberation Army (ELN) armed group.

Despite the FARC disbanding to change into a political celebration, Colombia has seen a surge in violence as 1000’s of dissidents battle the ELN and highly effective cartels for management of drug fields, unlawful gold mines and profitable smuggling routes.

According to the Indepaz peace analysis institute, there are 90 armed teams with some 10,000 members energetic in Colombia, the world’s largest cocaine producer.

Petro has proposed permitting armed teams at hand themselves over in alternate for some type of amnesty.

He will likely be inaugurated at 3:00 pm native time (2000 GMT) in entrance of a number of worldwide visitors.

Colombian presidents serve just one time period.

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