Gustavo Pedro was sworn in as the first left-wing president this Sunday (7th). ColombiaChosen by voters who believe he can deliver ambitious social and economic reforms aimed at reducing violence and deep inequality in the polarized Andean nation.
Pedro, a former member of the M-19 guerrillas, was sworn in Sunday afternoon in Bogotá’s Plaza Bolivar.
A crowd watches the inauguration of Gustavo Pedro in Bogotá on August 7, 2022. — Photo: Ariana Cupillos/AP
Evan Duk, who left the government and refused to allow Simon Bolivar, one of the heroes of the ceremony, to use his sword. The former president said that he cannot use the sword for security reasons.
As soon as he was sworn in, Pedro ordered the sword to be brought. He later succeeded Vice President Francia Márquez. An environmentalist and former maid, she is the first Afro-Colombian woman to hold the position.
Who is Gustavo Pedro? The former guerrilla became Colombia’s first left-wing president
A crowd of 100,000 people
Senate President Roy Barreras took the oath in front of about 100,000 people, including King Felipe VI of Spain, along with at least nine ordinary Latin American and Colombian presidents invited by Pedro.
The King of Spain had a small flower when his name was announced.
Pedro, a 62-year-old former senator, said his first priority was to tackle hunger in the country of 50 million people, where nearly half the population lives in some form of poverty.
A $5.8 billion tax reform that would raise taxes on the wealthy to fund social programs will be proposed to Congress by new Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo on Monday.
“I’m nervous about being president,” Pedro recently told students at Universidad Externado de Bogotá, his alma mater, when asked about the challenges ahead.
Pedro promised free public university education and health care reforms and built a broad coalition in Congress with left and center parties to support his platform.
Promises of pension reform and a freeze on new oil ventures have unnerved investors.
The new president, a former mayor of Bogotá, has pledged to resume peace talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels and enforce a 2016 peace deal with former FARC guerrillas who rejected it.
His foreign minister said the government would negotiate with gangs and offer members a reduced sentence in exchange for information on drug trafficking.
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