Former guerrilla fighter Gustavo Petro was elected as the next president of the South American country by Colombians on Sunday. The firebrand leftist leader won the presidential election by a narrow margin against populist business magnate Rodolfo Hernandez. This was Petro’s third attempt at gaining the presidency after failed bids in 2010 and 2018.
Who is Gustavo Petro?
Gustavo Petro poses for a picture with supporters in Bogota | Photo: Reuters
The 62-year-old Colombia senator was sentenced for his involvement with the M-19 guerrilla group during his younger years. During his jail years, Petro has alleged he was subjected to torture by the military. He is a family man and fathers five children.
Petro has also formerly served as the mayor of Colombia’s capital Bogota. The President-elect first came into prominence nationally after his passionate speeches against corruption and violence by right-wing paramilitary groups and political allies created buzz in the country.
He says that his “political awakening” came after witnessing father’s tears after the world-famous revolutionary Che Guevara died. During his rebel days, Petro was reportedly not a combatant in the M-19 group. The guerrilla group is infamous for a 1985 incident where they took hostage top Colombian judges. The confrontation with forces that followed resulted in nearly 100 deaths.
Owing to his revolutionary past, Petro is accused of having a bias towards guerillas and would favour former rebels while in office, concerns he campaigned hard to quell.
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(With inputs from agencies)