On Sunday, Colombia’s first leftist president was sworn into office.
Sen. Gustavo Petro, a former member of Colombia’s M-19 guerrilla group, has promised to fight inequality and herald a turning point in the history of a country haunted by a long war between the government and guerrilla groups.
Petro won the presidential election in June by beating conservative parties that offered moderate changes to the market-friendly economy.
According to reports, Petro is part of a growing group of leftist politicians and political outsiders who have been winning elections in Latin America since the pandemic broke out and hurt incumbents who struggled with its economic aftershocks.
Political experts also consider the ex-rebels victory exceptional for Colombia, where voters had been historically reluctant to back leftist politicians who were often accused of being soft on crime or allied with guerrillas.
This year, Petro, 62, has promised to tackle Colombia’s social and economic inequalities by boosting spending on anti-poverty programs and increasing investment in rural areas.
After their peace deal with the government, Petro has also said he wants to start peace talks with the remaining rebel groups currently fighting over drug routes, gold mines, and other resources abandoned by the FARC.