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Gustavo Petro Taking Oath as Colombia President in Historic Shift

BOGOTA, Colombia Colombias first leftist president will undoubtedly be sworn into office Sunday, promising to fight inequality and heralding a turning point in the annals of a country haunted by way of a long war between your government and guerrilla groups.

Sen. Gustavo Petro, a former person in Colombias M-19 guerrilla group, won the presidential election in June by beating conservative parties that offered moderate changes to the market-friendly economy, but didn’t connect to voters annoyed by rising poverty and violence against human rights leaders and environmental groups in rural areas.

Petro is section of a growing band of leftist politicians and political outsiders who’ve been winning elections in Latin America because the pandemic broke out and hurt incumbents who struggled using its economic aftershocks.

The ex-rebels victory was also exceptional for Colombia, where voters have been historically reluctant to back leftist politicians who have been often accused to be soft on crime or allied with guerrillas.

A 2016 peace deal between Colombias government and the brand new MILITARY of Colombia turned a lot of the focus of voters from the violent conflicts playing out in rural areas and gave prominence to problems like poverty and corruption, fueling the popularity of leftist parties in national elections.

Petro, 62, has promised to tackle Colombias social and economic inequalities by boosting shelling out for anti-poverty programs and increasing investment in rural areas. He’s got described U.S.-led antinarcotics policies, like the forced eradication of illegal coca crops, as a large failure. But he’s got said he’d like to use Washington as equals, building schemes to combat climate change or bring infrastructure to rural areas where many farmers say coca leaves will be the only viable crop.

Petro also formed alliances with environmentalists during his presidential campaign and contains promised to show Colombia right into a global powerhouse forever by slowing deforestation and taking steps to lessen the countrys reliance on fossil fuels.

The incoming president has said Colombia will minimize granting new licenses for oil exploration and can ban fracking projects, despite the fact that the oil industry accocunts for almost 50% of the nations legal exports. He plans to finance social spending with a $10 billion per year tax reform that could boost taxes on the rich and get rid of corporate tax breaks.

Petro in addition has said he really wants to start peace talks with remaining rebel groups which are currently fighting over drug routes, gold mines along with other resources abandoned by the FARC after their peace cope with the federal government.

Hes got an extremely ambitious agenda, said Yan Basset, a political scientist at Bogotas Rosario University. But he’ll need to prioritize. The chance Petro faces is he goes after way too many reforms simultaneously and gets nothing through Colombias congress.

At the very least 10 heads of state are anticipated to wait Petros inauguration, that may happen at a big colonial-era square before Colombias Congress. Stages with live music and big screens may also be put into parks across Bogotas city center in order that thousands of citizens without invitations to the primary event may also interact the festivities. Thats a difference for Colombia where previous presidential inaugurations were more somber events limited by a couple of hundred VIP guests.

We wish the Colombian visitors to function as protagonists, Petros press chief, Marisol Rojas, said in a statement. This inauguration would be the first taste of a fresh type of governing, where all types of life are respected, and where everyone ties in.

E mail us at letters@time.com.

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