Gustavo Petro sworn in as Colombia's first leftist president

Gustavo Petro sworn in as Colombia's first leftist president

Gustavo Petro takes his oath of office as President of Colombia. He became the first leftist president in Colombia.

Reporting from the AFP news agency, Monday (8/8/2022), Gustavo was sworn in on Sunday (7/8) local time. Gustavo Petro is a 62-year-old former guerrilla who served as mayor. He made the vows in front of a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people at his inauguration in Bogota.

Petro's hard-fought victory in June's election brought Colombia, long ruled by a conservative elite, into Latin America's thriving left wing.

"I swear to God and promise the people that I will faithfully uphold the Colombian constitution and laws," Petro said in his oath of office.

At a ceremony in Bogota on the eve of his inauguration, Petro said his government, which should have the support of a left-leaning majority in Congress, would aim to "bring to Colombia what it has not had for centuries, namely calm and peace."

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

During the campaign, Petro pledged during his four-year term to raise taxes on the rich, invest in health care and education and reform the police after a brutal crackdown on anti-inequality protests last year that was condemned internationally.

He has pledged to suspend oil exploration, to promote clean energy and to reactivate diplomatic and commercial ties with Nicolas Maduro's government in Venezuela, suspended since 2019.

Petro started from "an enviable position, with a large majority in Congress and, in street terms, with support the government has not had in recent years," analyst Jorge Restrepo of the Resource Center for Conflict Analysis (Cerac), told AFP.

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